A stoppage time strike from Pontus Wernbloom granted CSKA Moscow a 1-1 home draw against Spanish giants Real Madrid in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Before the game, Real coach Jose Mourinho said he’d be satisfied with a score draw in the Russian capital, but he surely wasn’t contemplating the scenario he witnessed on this cold Tuesday evening.
The Madrid side were in control throughout the whole 90 minutes against the hosts, who were playing their first official game of the season.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave Real the lead after half an hour. Zoran Tosic failed to clear the ball after a cross and the Portuguese star was right there to slot home to make the score 0-1.
Ronaldo could well have doubled his team’s lead after the break as he found himself one on one with Sergey Chepchugov. But CSKA’s substitute keeper stood firm, forcing the striker to shoot wide.
The Muscovites failed to create any serious danger in front of Iker Casillias’ goal until the third minute of stoppage time, when CSKA went for all-out attack and got the vital equalizer.
Aleksey and Vasily Berezutsky prevailed in an aerial battle and delivered the ball to Wernbloom, who couldn’t miss from close range, scoring on his debut for the Russian club to make it 1-1.
“I don’t want to talk about whether this is a fair result or not,” Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid’s coach, said after the match. “That’s the result we’ve got. And we’ll keep in mind when we prepare for the next game that CSKA are no easy opponents, but this evening they couldn’t create much on the attack. But in the end they managed to score. We had a great opportunity to make it 2-0, but we were out of luck.”
“I am expecting a match of the same difficulty in the second leg but, of course, I hope to win,” he added.
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky believes the draw leaves his men with a chance to make it to the quarter-finals.
“In the first half, we were able to defend as we had planned,” he stressed. “Our rivals had minimum chances. The goal came after our mistake. We just failed to cope with a simple cross. We lacked wholeness in the attack before the break. Don’t forget that we missed key players in Honda and Mamaev. In the second half, the game was more open and we often approached our rivals’ box. But Real still created chances. Of course, I’m pleased that we managed to equalize.”
The winner of the tie will be decided in the second leg, which is scheduled to take place in Madrid on March 14.
In another game of the night, Chelsea suffered a shock 3-1 defeat away at Napoli. The English side took the lead through Juan Mata on 27 the minute, but the hosts replied with a brace from Ezequiel Lavezzi and a goal by Edinson Cavani.
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