CSKA deadlock missed chance for Trabzonspor, players admit
TRABZON - Hürriyet Daily News
Trabzonspor midfielder Didier Zokora (R) fights for the ball with CSKA Moscow forwar Vagner Love in the two teams’ Champions League clash. AFP photo
Trabzonspor players are upset about failing to break the deadlock during their Champions League match against CSKA Moscow on Nov. 2.
Trabzonspor was held to a 0-0 draw by CSKA Moscow in a Champions League Group B fixture, failing to capitalize on Seydou Doumbia’s sending off and leaving both sides with work to do to advance in the competition.
Burak Yılmaz, Trabzonspor’s top scorer in the Turkish league, made his debut on the top European stage after serving a three-match ban. The Turkish forward said it was “a bad night.”
“Actually, we made things all the more difficult,” Yılmaz said. “We need to play a lot better. We could have won and took a step toward our target. It was a bad night and I hope things will get better in the future.”
Doumbia, who scored twice in the match between the two sides in Moscow, again left his mark on the match by being sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on his Ivorian compatriot Didier Zokora in the 74th minute.
The CSKA striker had been at the heart of the action, creating a couple of chances at either end of the first half.
In the second minute, a shot from Doumbia was cleared off the goalline by home defender Giray Kaçar. He went close again at the end of the half, but keeper Tolga Zengin’s knee kept his shot out after the forward had been clean on goal.
The result left both clubs on five points, with second-placed CSKA Moscow ahead on head-to-head and Inter Milan top with two games to go after its win over bottom side Lille.
Burak Yılmaz was the greatest threat for the home side but was repeatedly caught offside. He engineered a chance in the 31st minute, holding off a defender and turning to fire in a shot but missed the target.
Zokora said Trabzonspor, who won at 2010 winner Inter in the opening game, had surprised many people.
“I think we have a good chance of going through. Trabzon is taking part in the competition for the first time and not many would have expected us to have five points after four games,” Zokora told reporters. “We have started to defend better and it is important that we didn’t concede any goals.”
With half an hour remaining, Trabzonspor brought on Alanzinho and Paulo Henrique to refresh the side’s attacking options.
The change nearly yielded dividends in the 67th minute when Alanzinho made a strong run down the left and fired in a shot, which Vladimir Gabulov saved.
CSKA remained a threat after Doumbia’s sending off, forcing two saves out of the home keeper.
A late attacking flurry from Trabzon in the final minutes gave the home fans hope, but a header from Ondrej Celustka rebounded off the post to frustrate the Black Sea side and enabled the visitors to hang on for a point.
Trabzonspor next hosts Inter on Nov. 22 when CSKA welcomes Lille.
Meanwhile, Inter coach Claudio Ranieri stood by what he described as his “old guard” after fielding the oldest team the Champions League has ever seen in 2-1 win over Lille.
Inter’s side had a combined age of 347 and an average age of 31.54, with the five-man defence, including goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi, clocking up 171.
Ranieri said it was the right way to get Inter out of their current predicament where they are 17th in Serie A with only two wins in nine outings.
“You can’t underestimate the value of experience, think of it as an old guard,” the former Chelsea, Juventus and AS Roma coach told reporters at the San Siro. “The team is compact, it is determined. I have faith in them, because it is a moment of great difficulty and pressure. It wouldn’t be easy to put young lads in there at this stage.
“They are used to big matches and to being under pressure. That doesn’t mean to say that when the moment is right, I won’t give a chance to one of the other younger players,” added Ranieri, who brought on 23-year-old Argentine Ricardo Alvarez in the second half.
Captain Javier Zanetti, the oldest player on the pitch at 38, was making his 93rd Champions League appearance with 33-year-old Dejan Stankovic making his 84th and defender Lucio, 33, his 78th.
Eight of Inter’s starting lineup were over 30.
Inter’s Champions League form has been a welcome contrast to their Serie A performances.
“In the Champions League, we have had that bit of luck that we have been lacking in Serie A,” said Ranieri.
Additional AP and Reuters stories were used in this story.