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2003 ★ The title won on the “Gerena” stadium and epic clashes with Blackburn Rovers

2003 ★ The title won on the “Gerena” stadium and epic clashes with Blackburn Rovers

CSKA team for the 2002-2003 season:
Sitting, From left to right: Macdonald Mukanski, Yordan Todorov, Emil Gargorov, Georgi Antonov, Toncho Tokmakchiev (member of the board), Stefan Ormandjiev (member of the board), Vasil Bozhkov (president of the club), Georgi Ananiev (member of the board), Lazar Vasilev (financial director), Svetoslav Petrov, Velizar Dimitrov, Todor Yanchev, Hristo Yanev; Second row: Renato Salvatori (coach), Joao Carlos, Ibrahima Gueye, Angel Yoshev, Artim Sakiri, Radoslav Zdravkov (coach), Stoycho Mladenov (head coach), Metodi Tomanov (coach), Yordan Varbanov, Ivan Pavlov, Alexander Tomash, Gerasim Zakov, Stoyan Yordanov (coach), Valentin Yanev (masseur);
Third row: Nikolay Dontchev (administrator), Agnaldo Pereira, Fabio Lima, Joao Paolo Brito, Marcos Charras, Stoycho Mladenov - jr., Borislav Karamatev, Petar Nikolov, d-r Ivan Doychev (doctor of the team), Vencislav Mihaylov (member of the board), Zdravko Zafirov (member of the board), Nikolay Nanev (administrator);
Last row: Dobri Dimov, Biser Avdjiev (masseur), Rumen Trifonov, Hristo Bahtarliev, Venzislav Velinov, Ivaylo Ivanov, Stoyan Kolev, Simeon Atanasov, Pancho Shushkov (member of the board), Evgeni Goranov (member of the board)

CSKA won the 29th title in a standart way - finishing 1st and leaving Levski at their traditional second place. The Reds had 66 points, 6 mote than the Blues.

The new coach Stoycho Mladenov signed Velizar Dimitrov, Emil Gargorov, Macdonald Mukanski and Joao Paolo Brito, who would play a significant role in the championship.

At mid-season it was already clear who would win the title after CSKA finished with 13 wins out of 13 games and a goal difference of 67:16. In both criteria CSKA was far ahead of the competition.

The title was won at the "Gerena" stadium after a 1:1 draw against Levski in round 23. Joao Paolo Brito's goal made CSKA unreachable for the Blues and the fans started to party at the stadium of the biggest rival.

During the campaign Levski was defeated in the "Balgarska Armia" with the classical 3:0. Two of the goals were scored by South African striker Macdonald Mukanski and one by Svetoslav Petrov.

In the Cup of Bulgaria the Reds reached the semi final, where they were unfortunately eliminated by Levski after 0:1 at the "Balgarska Armia" and 0:0 at "Georgi Asparouhov".

This didn't bother the red fans who always had a focus on European matches. In the UEFA Cup Stoycho Mladenov's team faced Dinamo Minks and eliminated the Belorussian side after 4:1 in Minsk and 1:0 in Sofia. The next opponent was English Blackburn Rovers and the clashed were truly epic, leaving a dramatic mark in history. After a 1:1 in England with a goal by Velizar Dimitrov came the second leg in the sold out "Balgarska Armia". After 57 minutes Blackburn was leading with 3:0 and many would have despaired but not CSKA and the CSKA fans, who gave everything in order to motivate the Stoycho Mladenov's players. With two goals by Emil Gargorov (one from the penalty spot) and one by Agnaldo Pereira the "Army men" managed to reach a 3:3. The CSKA players gave everything and only the luck allowed Blackburn to survive in the Borisova Garden and qualify for the next round.



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