x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

CSKA free to play in the last 16

CSKA Moscow's thrilling 2-1 Champions League win over Besiktas on Tuesday night was not in vain after governing body Uefa confirmed that the club will not be thrown out of this season's competition.

CSKA Moscow's thrilling 2-1 Champions League win over Besiktas on Tuesday night was not in vain after governing body Uefa confirmed that the club will not be thrown out of this season's competition. Yevgeny Aldonin scored five minute into injury time to ensure CSKA finished second in Group B, but their participation in the last 16 was in doubt after two of their players failed drugs tests.

Uefa announced last night that Russian defenders Alexei Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich have been provisionally suspended from all games after testing positive for a banned stimulant. However, the substance in question is on a list of "non-specified" stimulants, meaning that potential disqualification penalties will not be invoked. Club doctors failed to include the drug Sudafed on the list of players' medication they handed to doping officials before the tests following the 3-3 draw with Manchester United on November 3. Any punishments are therefore likely to be in the form of sanctions against the players rather than the club.

A disciplinary hearing will take place on December 17 to review the matter. "The problem is that during the doping control procedures a clerical error was made by employees within our medical staff," said a CSKA statement. "For the players and for the club this news was truly shocking. "Unfortunately, we do not yet fully understand all the circumstances of the case, but we have nothing to hide, and we believe our fans should be made aware of that."

CSKA joined Manchester United in the knockout stages thanks to Aldonin's late winner after Bobo of Besiktas had cancelled out Mils Krasic's opener. The draw for the knockout stage will take place on December 18. akunawicz@thenational.ae