Real Madrid fall to surprise 1-0 defeat at CSKA Moscow

European champions Real Madrid fell to a surprise Champions League defeat by CSKA Moscow in Russia after early goal by Nikola Vlasic.

Toni Kroos gifted the hosts their goal in the second minute with a terrible backpass that was picked up by Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Everton, and he fired past Keylor Navas from just inside the penalty area.

Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Mariano hit the woodwork for Real, as the Spanish side, without the injured Gareth Bale, pushed for an equaliser.

CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was sent off four minutes into injury time for two yellow cards in quick succession for dissent.

Nevertheless, the hosts held on to move to the top of Group G above Real, who dropped down to second.

Roma beat Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the other group game, but Real stay above them on head-to-head record courtesy of their 3-0 win over the Italian side two weeks ago.

Real Madrid club captain Sergio Ramos was rested and not in the squad, while Luka Modric, who won the best male player of 2018 at the Best Fifa Football Awards last month, was only among the substitutes.

However, the Russians went ahead after 65 seconds as a result of Kroos’ costly error.

Real dominated from then on, with 69% of possession and 26 attempts at goal. Casemiro hit the foot of the post with a low strike from 22 yards before Benzema headed against the crossbar from Sergio Reguilon’s cross.

Modric was brought on in the 58th minute and created a chance for Mariano, but his header hit the post.

Kroos also shot narrowly wide and Raphael Varane headed an injury-time opportunity wide. Akinfeev, 32, who announced his retirement from international football on Monday after making 114 appearances for Russia, thought Varane had pushed a CSKA player when jumping for the chance and complained forcefully to the referee.

The official, Ovidiu Hategan, quickly showed Akinfeev two yellow cards and sent him off, with 20-year-old goalkeeper Georgi Kyrnats coming on to make his first Champions League appearance in a frantic finish as CSKA held on.

Elsewhere Manchester United failed to ease the pressure on manager Jose Mourinho with a goalless draw against Valencia in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

United, enduring their worst start to a league campaign for 29 years, started brightly, thanks mainly to the energy of recalled widemen Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez.

However, as the Spanish side grew into the contest, the hosts became more ponderous and disjointed.

Indeed, Valencia had the better chances either side of half-time until United rediscovered the impetus and energised not only themselves but also the home crowd.

Rashford clipped the top of the bar with a free-kick, but the visitors hung on for a deserved draw that extended United’s winless run to four games.

United are second in Group H on four points, two behind leaders Juventus, who defeated Swiss side Young Boys 3-0 and will travel to Old Trafford on 23 October with Cristiano Ronaldo restored to their ranks.

 

  

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