Posted: 4/13/2018


              As a schoolboy I was fascinated by the short  but historic flight of Soviet cosmonaut Colonel Yuri Alexseyevich Gagarin, the first human being in space.  On 12th April 1961 he flew around the earth in 1 hour 48 minutes in spacecraft Vostok. He became famous worldwide and a Hero of the Soviet Union. He was only 5 " 2' tall(1.57 metres), but had an amazing smile.

             He was taken on a world tour including Manchester and London and later became a fighter test pilot.. He died on 27th March 1968 in his MiG-15 along with his co pilot. His ashes are interned in the wall of the Kremlin in Moscow. and every year on 12th April YURI"S DAY is celebrated.

            So, this brings me to Thursday night 12th April 2018 at the VEB ARENA in Moscow, home to PFC CSKA MOSCOW, The Central Sports Club of the Army and a chance for the Red /Blues, or Koni (Horses), to become famous  in 1 hour 30 minutes against the Gunners of Arsenal in a Europa League quarter final second leg.

            Overcoming a 4-1 first leg loss at the Emirates in North London was going to be an enormous task, but after the drama earlier in the week in The Champions League, they were going to give it a shot in front of their home stadium and 30,000 fans who were up for it.. Manager Viktor Goncharenko had his team attack the Londoners from the kick-off . A 39th minute goal from 20 year old Fyodor Chalov set the stadium alight. In the 50th minute Kirill Nababkin made it 2-0 on the night. One more goal without reply and they would be through to the semi-finals on away goals.

          IT WAS NOT TO BE !!. Danny Welbeck in the 75th minute and the dream was over, with Aaron Ramsey scoring his team's 2nd in added time.  Aggregate 6-3 for Arsene Wenger's Gunners. 

         However there was a shock result in Salzburg at the Red Bull Arena. After AS Roma had shocked the world 2 nights earlier against Barcelona, was Lazio the other Roman club about to  gain a semi-final place in the lesser European competition?   4-2 ahead from the first leg in the Italian capital it seems as if Red Bull Salzburg would be easy to beat even away in Austria. Ciro Immobile put them 5-2 ahead in the 55th minute. No chance of a shock ? WRONG, VERY WRONG !

         Two minutes later Munas Dabbus started the fight back and in 4 incredible minutes between the 72nd and 76th minute the Austrians scored THREE TIMES. Amadou Haidara, Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer made it an aggregate 6-5 and a place in the semis.

      We have the draw for the sem-finals of the EUROPA LEAGUE today in Nyon, Switzerland.:  Olympique Marseille- Red Bull Salzburg Arsenal-Atletico Madrid. The final will be in Lyon. 16th May.

     In The Champions league: FC Bayern Munich-Real Madrid: Liverpool-AS Roma.  The final will be in Kiev.26th May.