After Inter lost to Trabzonspor in a disastrous start to its Group B campaign, Claudio Ranieri followed up his debut win against Bologna with three points in Russia
Mauro Zarate was the Inter hero, firing his side back into the lead after Lucio and Giampaolo Pazzini's first-half strikes were cancelled out by goals from Alan Dzagoev and Vagner Love.
Lucio, who had looked distinctly disinterested under Gain Piero Gasperini, picked up where he’d left off at Bologna, scoring his second goal in two games to give his side a sixth-minute lead.
CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov failed to claim Ricardo Alvarez’s floated inswinging corner, leaving Lucio with an empty goal to volley into. He was, however, fortunate that his attempt, which looked to be heading wide, deflected off Sergei Ignashevich and into the unguarded net.
It was Pazzini who fired his side into an important two-goal lead in the 23rd minute when he tapped home from close range after a superb run and cross by Yuto Nagatomo, who had expertly nutmegged Aleksei Berezutski on his way to the byeline.
At 2-0 up, it seemed inevitable that the Italian side would now allow its opponents to come at them and attempt to defend the advantage.
The hosts took up the mantle, and a Dzagoev set piece in the third minute of first-half stoppage time proved to be Inter’s undoing. The Russia international took the direct route to goal, curling a 25 yard free-kick over the Inter wall and above the seemingly unprepared Julio Cesar in the center of the goal.
After a concerted period of pressure, Vagner Love eventually levelled the scores in the 77th minute after waltzing inside Javier Zanetti and Lucio before rifling past Julio Cesar.But no sooner had CSKA restored parity than it was forced behind again, as less than 60 seconds later, Zarate latched onto an Esteban Cambiasso pass and drilled low into the net to snatch the win.
Matchday 3 sees the Italians travel to France to face Ligue 1 champions Lille, while CSKA Moscow welcomes Trabzonspor to the Russian capital for a second consecutive home fixture. The contests are both scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18.