Tuesday 16 January 2018

Wernbloom punishes Madrid

Moscow 1
Real Madrid 1

Pontus Wernbloom made Real Madrid pay for a string of misses as CSKA Moscow pinched an improbable draw when they looked certain to head to the Bernabeu behind in the Champions League last-16 tie.

Wernbloom scored in the third minute of stoppage time, cancelling out Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half strike for Madrid. There was a certain symmetry in how the equalising goal went in, as twins Vasili and Aleksei Berezutski were both involved in the build-up, having both been at fault for the opening goal.

Alan Dzagoev provided a cross from the right, Vasili Berezutski headed the ball towards the back post and his brother nodded across goal for Swedish midfielder Wernbloom to lunge in and score.

CSKA had posed little threat all match, but they will head to the second leg in Spain on level terms.

At their Luzhniki Stadium, with its artificial pitch, it was the Russians who had the first noteworthy effort, as Dzagoev's athletic volley from Georgi Schennikov's left-wing cross went wide of the left post.

From there, Madrid took charge. Gonzalo Higuain, on early as a substitute for the injured Karim Benzema, almost scored with a curling left-footed strike, but Sergei Chepchugov was equal to the effort and surpassed that save with another as Sami Khedira drilled a fierce shot which the goalkeeper touched over.

Ronaldo opened the scoring after 28 minutes when hapless defending presented him with the chance.

Fabio Coentrao crossed from the Madrid left, Vasili Berezutski could not avert the danger and twin Aleksei managed only to tip the ball with his head to Ronaldo.

The gift was happily accepted by the Portuguese, who powered a low shot underneath Chepchugov.

Mesut Ozil then drew a save from Chepchugov before half-time arrived, with Madrid in charge.

The visitors poured on pressure after the break and there should have been more Madrid goals to follow. Ronaldo was clear on Chepchugov, who won their one-on-one battle, and later he had a similarly clear opening but placed his shot wide of the left post.

Madrid seemed to have staved off any danger from their hosts, so they were stunned when the leveller went in. Aleksei Berezutski was smart in not going for the target, and before the Madrid defence reacted Wernbloom had smashed in the ball from seven yards.

Irish Independent

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