Villa's UEFA Cup adventure came to an end in the ice-cold conditions of Moscow - but if you're talking about grit, determination and desire the performance of Martin O'Neill's men was red-hot.
26th Feb 2009

Villa's UEFA Cup adventure came to an end in the ice-cold conditions of Moscow - but if you're talking about grit, determination and desire the performance of Martin O'Neill's men was red-hot.

Villa - featuring young guns Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton - couldn't find a vital goal against CSKA but their effort and application could never be questioned.

The opening goal came after an impressive free-kick routine from the hosts - the ball played off to Yury Zhirkov who fired his shot past Brad Guzan.

And Brazilian hotshot Vagner Love was at his predatory best at the death with a impressive finish in stoppage time.

Villa did manage several half-chances - Nathan Delfouneso's smart turn and shot careering straight at Igor Akinfeev while Craig Gardner produced a piledriver which flew too close to the CSKA Moscow goalkeeper.

90mins - GOAL - Vagner Love fires smartly past Brad Guzan to put the tie beyond Villa.

87mins - BOOKING - Marc Albrighton (foul)

84mins - The ball falls to Zat Knight in the box but the central defender scuffs his shot.

83mins - SUBSTITUTION - Isaiah Osbourne for Curtis Davies

82mins - BOOKING - Alan Dzagoev (foul)

77mins - Milos Krasic unleashes a terrific shot but Brad Guzan is again equal to it. Come on Villa - let's make a breakthrough.

73mins - Curtis Davies marches forward but loses the ball and CSKA break. Vagner Love fires wide somehow. It's no surprise because Villa are going to have to start taking some risks.

66mins - Yury Zhirkov tries another effort but Brad Guzan does brilliantly to get his body behind the powerful shot.

65mins - The Villa boys are still passing it around well and you wouldn't back against them scoring.

60mins - GOAL - Yury Zhirkov fires home from just outside the box after a clever free-kick routine. Villa need a quick response.

58mins - Vagner Love prods at a cross and it's marginally wide. Villa are standing strong at the back.

54mins - FC - Ray Pace: "Come on lads - let's spring a surprise." It's definitely possible Ray - just need that one great chance.

54mins - Craig Gardner is doing brilliantly this afternoon - working so hard for the team but also breaking forward when he gets a chance.

53mins - Milos Krasic fires just wide when well-placed while Brad Guzan does brilliantly to smother another terrific drive.

51mins - Top ball from Marc Albrighton on the right to Barry Bannan at the far post - darting in - but it's just too long for the Scottish midfielder.

49mins - Great effort from Craig Gardner - the midfielder firing in a fierce shot. Unfortunately, it's straight at Igor Akinfeev - anywhere else and we'd be celebrating the opening goal.

47mins - It's minus 10 here by the way - just been informed by a CSKA official.

46mins - SUBSTITUTION - Marlon Harewood for Moustapha Salifou

HT - Great half for Villa - competitive and dangerous on occasions. Let's hope for another half like that - with a cheeky goal thrown in of course.

41mins - FC - Anthony Kilroy: "Barry Bannan bags blistering thunderbolt to blast brilliant Villa into the last 16." Is this Jack Woodward with a fake name? That would be perfect for the quality AVTV coverage.

40mins - Craig Gardner makes a cracking run - beating three CSKA players - but he can't quite get his shot off. Good work though from Craig. The midfielder lives and breathes claret and blue!

38mins - FC - Sean Delaney: "Keep it tight at the back and then we'll see a Steve Sidwell screamer late on." Now that would warm me up Sean!

38mins - Got to say - it's freezing here and I'm sat with my Villa Russian hat, a vest, gloves, jumper and thick coat. Oh...and two pairs of socks too.

35mins - Steve Sidwell skies a shot high and handsome after good build-up work from Craig Gardner. It's certainly not been one-way traffic.

34mins - MON is barking out the orders from his technical area - he will be happy with what he has seen so far. The home fans are getting restless.

32mins - FC - Jack Salmon: "It will be a real test for the young lads this afternoon." They are coping very well Jack - certainly don't look out of place.

31mins - Vasily Berezutskiy heads narrowly wide for the hosts. Villa are certainly restricting the talented CSKA Moscow side.

27mins - Mayhem in the Villa box but Luke Young does brilliantly to clear the danger with several CSKA Moscow players look to pounce. We're delighted Luke is captain this afternoon - great player and great guy too.

18mins - Alan Dzagoev sends a 16-yard shot just wide of Brad Guzan's right-hand post. So close for the hosts but Villa survive.

14mins - FC - Scottie Hughes: "All the best to the lads - it's just past 4am here in Australia but the boys mean more to me than sleep." Good on you Scottie. Weird hey - just past 4am where you are, it's just past 8pm here in Russia and it's just past 5pm in the UK.

13mins - Barry Bannan produces an excellent ball into the box from the left and Nathan Delfouneso produces a smart turn and shot. Igor Akinfeev manages to get his body behind the effort to save. Nice move.

10mins - FC - Darryl Pluck: "Yes CSKA are very good technically but MON is a master and the young lads will come through." They've made a good start Darryl - they certainly don't look intimidated.

9mins - MON is prowling around his technical area, as always. He'll be pleased with the comfortable start.

8mins - Brad Guzan gets down well to smother a chance from Yury Zhirkov. Great work from the USA keeper.

3mins - Steady start for Villa. They are passing it around very well. We've got Barry Bannan wide left and Marc Albrighton wide right. It's a five man midfield with Nathan Delfouneso up front by himself.

2mins - FC - Richard Blackmore: "Let's give the boys a chance. I've heard nothing but good things about Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton." Absolutely, they are highly regarded here at Villa.

1mins - Come on Villa! You can do it.

16.58pm - FC - Lucy Asplin: "A big hello to the AVTV team out there in Moscow. I have faith." Hello there Lucy - glad you're following the action on

16.58pm - Villa are striding out into the centre of the pitch - we're all in white this afternoon. Similar to the European Cup final strip of 1982? An omen?

16.54pm - FC - Tony Ferns: "Villa will go all the way in the UEFA Cup this season." Yes, we quite fancy a trip to Istanbul.

16.52pm - FC - Alex Williams: "I've just played this exact line-up on FIFA 2009 and Villa won 2-0 thanks to Barry Bannan and Curtis Davies." Now that would be quality.

16.50pm - FC - Lee Bradbury: "Let's hope we see the birth of a new Villa star - Marc Albrighton."

16.45pm - FC - Chris Devey: "It will be 1-1 in normal time, thanks to The Fonz and then The Hare will come on and see us through in extra-time." Fingers crossed here Chris. Well, if I could cross my fingers. My gloves are so thick. I'm struggling to move my fingers. Very cold!!

16.45pm - FC - Mark Young: "How can any true Villa fan doubt the intelligence and skill of MON."

16.40pm - FC - Matt Todd: "Good luck to the young wingers - hope they can conjure up some magic." Agreed Matt - but, then again, they have been impressing in the reserves for many months. Let's hope they can transfer that form on to the UEFA Cup stage.

16.36 - FC - Steve Morris: "Prove everyone wrong and get a result." We've still got plenty of experience in the side - Curtis Davies, Zat Knight, skipper Luke Young and Craig Gardner.

16.35pm - FC - David Barber: "We can do this. I think we will nick it 1-0, thanks to a goal from Curtis Davies."

16.34pm - FC - Jim Tozer: "MON would be the ultimate legend if we get through against CSKA Moscow." You can say that again Jim! Great to hear from you.

16.30pm - For those of you who have asked - Barry Bannan is an exciting left-sided midfielder while Marc Albrighton is a winger - equally adept on the right or left. Great to see them get amongst it this afternoon.

16.25pm - FC - James Quirke: "It will be incredible if we qualify with the squad we have taken." Keep the faith James!

16.20pm - Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton both start in Martin O'Neill's side this afternoon, with Eric Lichaj, Ciaran Clark and Shane Lowry all on the bench. Luke Young is skipper for the Round of 32 second leg tie.

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Semberas, Ignashevich, Berezutskiy, Love, Krasic, Zhirkov, Berezutskiy, Rahimic, Shchennikov, Dzagoev. Subs: Pomazan, Ramon, Carvalho, Mamaev, Jesus, Odiah, Erkin.

VILLA: Guzan; Young, Davies, Knight, Shorey; Sidwell, Salifou, Gardner, Albrighton, Bannan; Delfouneso. Subs: Taylor, Harewood (for Salifou, HT), Osbourne (for Davies, 83), Lichaj, Clark, Lowry.

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