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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

Honda helps CSKA reach Europa League

LARNACA, Cyprus (Kyodo) Keisuke Honda and CSKA Moscow qualified for the Europa League on Tuesday after defeating Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus 2-1 away.

News photo
Club Med: CSKA's Keisuke Honda battles for the ball with Famagusta's Adamos Chatzigeorgiou on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Honda came off the bench 18 minutes into the second half of the second leg, keying the break that led to the match-winner in the 89th minute at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium as CSKA won 6-1 on aggregate to reach the group stage.

Honda, who is expected to be called up for Japan's upcoming home friendlies against Paraguay and Guatemala, was hardly thrilled with the performance of his teammates or of himself on this evening.

"This team only settles when I'm in the game," the World Cup striker said. "I have to hold up the ball so the other players can push up, but as long as I'm doing that, there's no way I can score."

With this appearance, Honda will not be able to play in the Champions League or the Europa League for another team this season should he transfer out of Moscow at some point.

Regulations prohibit a player from playing for two different clubs in European competitions during a single season.

Honda is aware the rumor mill continues to churn regarding his potential move to a big club, but made it clear he is not losing any sleep over it.

"I know there's talk," the 24-year-old said. "But I don't play just so I can be in the Champions League. Right now, I'm still a CSKA player and I'll continue to give everything I have for this team."

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