Sunday 17 December 2017

'Historic' Sevilla aiming to catch CSKA cold

Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez has described tonight's Champions League last-16 second leg against CSKA Moscow as "a very important game for the club, the team, the city, Andalusia and Spain" as the Primera Division outfit look to break new ground.

Sevilla have enjoyed notable recent success in Europe, winning the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007, but they have never reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League having been knocked out at the last-16 stage by Fenerbache in their only previous outing in 2008.

However, Sevilla have the chance to make history tonight, and hold a slight advantage following the first leg, having drawn 1-1 in Russia. Alvaro Negredo put the Spanish side ahead before Mark Gonzalez's brilliant long-range strike drew CSKA level.

Jimenez said: "It could be one of the most important games of my life. It's an historical moment. It's a very important game for the club, the team, the city, Andalusia and Spain.

"Therefore, we have to increase our efficiency to try and reach the quarter-finals and convert it into a historic fact for Sevilla and the whole city."

Sevilla go into the match having taken just two points from their three league games since the first leg, drawing at home to Athletic Bilbao and Deportivo La Coruna and losing 3-2 away to Real Madrid.

Jimenez, who also dismissed any suggestion he side would look to play for a goalless draw, has decided to delay naming his squad for the encounter until later today, although full-back Abdoulay Konko is out.

CSKA, who are also hoping to reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time, were in the midst of their winter break when the first leg was played.

However, they now have two more competitive games under their belts following the resumption of the Russian league, losing 1-0 to reigning champions Rubin Kazan in the Super Cup and then beating Amkar Perm 1-0 in their opening Premier Liga outing on Friday night.

CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky will be without Uros Cosic and Kiril Nababkin for the clash with Sevilla.

Sevilla v CSKA Moscow,

Live, Sky Sports 3, Setanta Ireland, 7.45

Irish Independent

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