CSKA and Parma ready for final fling

Both PFC CSKA Moskva and Parma FC are in a positive mood following a goalless semi-final first leg in Italy last week.

The first leg between the clubs at the Stadio Ennio Tardini finished in a scoreless draw, a result that finds both teams in a positive mood.

PFC CSKA Moskva have won all three of their UEFA Cup home games since joining at the knockout stage from the UEFA Champions League, while Parma have been in this position before – in the first knock-out round, when, after a 0-0 draw at home to VfB Stuttgart, the Italian side went to Germany and won 2-0.

This is the second meeting between the clubs in three seasons in UEFA club competition. The two sides met in the first round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup with Parma FC recovering from a goal down in the return leg to win 4-3 on aggregate. The first leg at Ramenskoye was drawn 1-1 with Adrian Mutu putting Parma ahead after 53 minutes, but Denis Popov equalised on 67 minutes. CSKA fell behind in the return leg when Adriano scored after eight minutes, but two goals from midfielder Sergei Semak (37 and 43 minutes) put them ahead. However Mutu equalised after 66 minutes, and then deprived the Russian team, who were ahead on the away goals rule, with a 90th-minute winner.

This will be the 50th match in UEFA club competitions for CSKA, who have previously faced Italian opposition once, in addition to their recent meetings with Parma. In the first round of the 1991/92 Cup Winners’ Cup, CSKA took on AS Roma and lost at the Luzhniki stadium 2-1 after Ruggiero Rizzitelli had scored a 73rd-minute winner. CSKA managed to win the return leg in Rome with Sergei Dimitriev’s 13th-minute goal, but the Italian side held on for an away goals win after the 2-2 aggregate draw.

CSKA have not conceded a goal in their three previous home games in the competition. SL Benfica and FK Partizan were both beaten 2-0 and they continued their impressive form in their home first leg quarter-final tie against AJ Auxerre with Chidi Odiah, Sergei Ignashevich, Vágner Love and Rolan Gusev scoring in a 4-0 win. CSKA are now aiming to remove the cup jinx on Moscow – the biggest city in Europe not to have won a European trophy.

The matches with CSKA are the only previous occasions that Parma have met either Russian or former Soviet Union clubs in 112 matches over 14 consecutive seasons, which have seen the Italian club win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993 and the UEFA Cup in 1995 and 1999.

Parma, having qualified from the group stage in third place in Group B - albeit with a minus goal difference - are unbeaten in the knockout stages despite four desperately close ties. After the extra-time victory in Stuttgart, Giuseppe Cardone scored the only goal against Sevilla FC. Andrea Pisanu then collected another crucial goal in the quarter-final first leg at FK Austria Wien, enough for a 1-1 draw and progress on away goals after a 0-0 scoreline in Italy.

Parma have accumulated two wins and five draws in the seven knockout stage matches, scoring just four goals and conceding only one.

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