CSKA triumphed at home, however could probably have scored more than they did in a 1-0 victory. Also, for the first time this match report will include an honourable mentions list for the man of the match award.
CSKA sent out their typical 4-2-3-1, although with a few positional switches. Dzagoev dropped into the double pivot with Pontus Wernbloom, while the attacking midfield band of 3 read as Steven Zuber, Keisuke Honda and Ahmed Musa from left to right, with Seydou Doumbia lining up at striker. Meanwhile, Kuban lined up with their traditional lineup, however Ivelin Popov dropped deep into midfield to swap it from a 4-4-2 into a 4-3-3.
CSKA came right out of the gates on the attack, troubling Kuban's midfield and defence with their fluid front four. When 10 minutes rolled around on the clock, Alan Dzagoev had the first major attempt of the match, when his 35 yard piledriver was saved by Aleksandr Belenov. However, Belenov would not do so well less than a minute later when Ahmed Musa turned and shot low to the right of goal from a long Keisuke Honda pass for the only goal of the half, and ultimately the match. CSKA didn't hold off there however, as Dzagoev sent a scintillating free kick just over Seydou Doumbia's head 12 minutes later. Kuban then turned around for their first real attempt of the match when Charles Kabore sent his long range effort straight at Igor Akinfeev, who saved confidently. Kuban followed this up 5 minutes later with a calamitous miss from point blank range by Ivelin Popov following a corner. Before long however, CSKA were back on top, and Dzagoev sent a first time shot just over the bar from the edge of the box. Unfortunately, despite their dominance CSKA only went into the half one goal to the good.
Both sides appeared to come out after half time with a different mentality, as Kuban pressed more, while CSKA appeared happy to sit on the ball in possession, although the match progressed in much the same way as it had before the break. Dzagoev continued having a fantastic game as he dictated play all over the pitch, sending a long ball into Kuban's box just before the hour mark, however Doumbia was unable to finish the chance. CSKA's final 3 chances all came from Dzagoev as well, as he fed a through ball for Ahmed Musa 25 minutes from the end, however the Nigerian sent the ball straight at Belenov. Dzagoev also fed substitute Zoran Tosic 10 minutes from time, but again the effort was straight at the keeper. Finally in stoppage time, Dzagoev sent a strong effort at goal that Belenov got in the way of. Musa got his head to the rebound, yet Belenov was there again to stop the effort, before he also touched away Honda's point blank attempt to finish out the match.
Man of the Match: Alan Dzagoev
Dzagoev may have had the game of his career today, as he controlled the match from start to finish. Not only did he create almost every CSKA chance, but he also had two excellent shots from long range and a few excellent set pieces.
Aleksandr Belenov - Fantastic keeping, capped off with a triple save in stoppage time.
Charles Kabore - The key man for Kuban. Had a number of excellent passes throughout the game.
Ahmed Musa - Well taken goal, as well as good movement off the ball for the rest of the match.