MOSCOW (Reuters) - CSKA Moscow became the first team to reach the Europa League last 16 after an Alan Dzagoev goal gave them a 1-0 second-leg home win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday following last week’s goalless stalemate in the Serbian capital.
Livewire Dzagoev sealed the contest on the stroke of halftime with a simple close-range finish after a flowing move, with midfielder Konstantin Kuchaev teeing him up with a fine low cross from the left.
CSKA, who won the UEFA Cup in 2005, dominated on a freezing evening against 1991 European Cup winners Red Star and could have won by a bigger margin, but for some poor finishing and good saves by Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Kuchaev shot just wide of the far post from 10 metres with Borjan stranded in the 35th minute and Brazilian Vitinho fired over the bar from long range in the 44th before Dzagoev broke the deadlock.
Kuchaev took a crossfield pass in his stride and curled in a perfect pass for Dzagoev, whose tap-in gave Borjan no chance.
Vitinho fired another fizzing shot over the bar and Borjan superbly kept out a Dzagoev header in the second half before Red Star nearly made the Russian side pay for their misses.
Aleksandar Pesic skewed his shot wide from five metres after a cross from the right in the 81st minute and strike partner El Fardou Ben Nabouhane volleyed wide of the far post in the 90th.
The other return legs will be played on Thursday, with Borussia Dortmund defending a 3-2 lead against Atalanta as they visit the Italian side while Celtic will carry a 1-0 advantage to Zenit St Petersburg.
RB Leipzig are at home to Napoli after winning the first leg in Italy 3-1 and Arsenal should have a simple task against Oestersunds following a 3-0 win in Sweden.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Toby Davis