Real Madrid embarrassed by CSKA in worst European night at Bernabeu

CSKA Moscow floored Spanish giants Real Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu with a dominant Champions League display.

Real had already qualified for the last-16 as Pool G winners, but that should not mask a poor performance, even if it was by a much-changed team.

But despite CSKA’s victory, they could not secure third place in the group and Europa League qualification after Viktoria Plzen took that spot by beating Roma 2-1.

And that was rough justice on the Russian side, whose European season came to an end on a night of otherwise unbridled joy.

Goals by Fedor Chalov, Georgi Schennikov and Arnor Sigurdsson secured an emphatic CSKA success.

It was Real’s heaviest European home defeat and their first home reversal in the Champions League pool stage for nine years.

Real’s back four repeatedly struggled, and that undermined an error-strewn performance as their margin of defeat accurately reflected CSKA’s superiority.

Real boss Santiago Solari made a number of changes, including handing starts to Isco and Marco Asensio, while a star-studded bench featured Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

And Real did not settle consistently during a first half that reached its conclusion with CSKA stunning their hosts by scoring two goals during a vibrant six-minute spell.

Chalov struck for the first in brilliant fashion, beating home goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a superb shot into the corner of the net.

Chalov’s goal highlighted hesitancy in the Real defence, but matters soon deteriorated for the Spanish giants.

Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Final – Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid Training Session – Estadio da Luiz
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thbaut Courtois (right). (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

With just two minutes left before the break, the visitors struck again as neat approach work left the Real defence bemused, and although Courtois’ sharp goalkeeping averted the initial danger, Schennikov bundled a rebounded shot into the net.

Asensio proved to be arguably Real’s most effective performer during the first half, but CSKA took their chances in devastating fashion as they left their opponents with a mountain to climb.

And Solari reacted immediately, making an interval switch as he sent on Bale for Karim Benzema.

Kroos also joined the action within the hour mark, replacing Marcos Llorente, but there was a scare for Real when Bale crashed to the ground clutching his right ankle.

The Wales international continued after treatment, but he did not look comfortable as he attempted to run off the knock.

But a hobbling Bale mirrored Real’s fortunes as CSKA put the issue beyond doubt with a third goal 17 minutes from time.

Real’s defensive work had assumed comedy value, and the visitors did not require a second invitation to enjoy the last laugh.

Courtois was again powerless as Sigurdsson swept the ball home, putting the seal on an outstanding CSKA display.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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