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Famous win in vain as CSKA crash out of Europe

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 3,268

Pin Chalov's opener set CSKA on course for victory. AFP
Chalov's opener set CSKA on course for victory. AFP

Famous win in vain as CSKA crash out of Europe

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 3,268

A ruthless 3-0 victory over Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wendesday night proved meaningless for CSKA Moscow as the Russians crashed out of Europe due to Viktoria Plzen's victory over Roma.

The hosts went into the game with nothing to play for, having already secured top spot in the group with their victory over Roma last time out. CSKA, meanwhile, knew that they needed to better Plzen's result to advance.

Things didn't look good for the Russians early on as the home side monopolised possession, with Marco Asensio and Vinicius Jr in particular looking dangerous.

The pair had Madrid's best chances in the first half, with the Brazilian being denied by a good low save from visiting goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, before Asensio clipped the bar with a wonderful curling strike in the same passage of play.

Asensio went closer as he forced Akinfeev into two routine saves when well placed, before the visitors took a shock lead against the run of play.

The breakthrough came with 37 minutes on the clock as Arnor Sigurdsson drove forward and fed Fedor Chalov, with the striker cleverly using the overlapping run to his right as a decoy to create the space to shift the ball onto his left foot and curl an effort into the far corner.

Real Madrid had barely had time to respond when the visitors doubled their lead. Chalov was involved again as he back-heeled the ball into the path Mario Fernandes and whilst his initial effort was kept out by Thibaut Courtois, Gerogi Schennikov was on hand to side-foot the loose ball beyond the retreating Belgian.

That gave the Russians a 2-0 lead at the break and with Plzen locked in a stalemate with Roma, things were looking good.

CSKA continued to threaten after the break as Everton loanee Nikola Vlasic saw a fierce effort beaten away by Courtois, before Isco wasted a glorious chance at the other end by hesitating too long before getting his shot away after brilliant work from Vinicius.

The introduction of Gareth Bale at half-time did little to turn the game in Madrid's favour, with the Welshman suffering what looked like a sprained ankle within minutes of coming on.

Rodrigo Becao almost put through his own net as his attempt to clear a Marcelo cross looped over the head of Akinfeev and onto the roof of the net, but with 17 minutes to go any hope of a Real Madrid comeback was extinguished as Sigurdsson rounded off the win.

Vlasic teed up the 19-year-old just inside the box and he kept his cool to sweep a smart finish across Courtois and into the far corner first time.

However, the joy of that goal was short-lived as news filtered through that Plzen were in the lead against Roma.

That left CSKA depending on a late Roma leveller, but no such goal was forthcoming as the Czech side held on to claim third place in Group G thanks to their head-to-head record.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, were left to ponder their biggest ever home defeat in Europe.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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