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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Champions League Group G: Real Madrid suffer shock 1-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow

A depleted Real Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 Champions League defeat at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, extending a poor run of form for the holders that has left them without a win or a goal in three games.
A brilliant victory for the Russian side, however, was marred in the final stages of a highly charged encounter in the Luzhniki stadium when CSKA keeper Igor Akinfeev was sent off for a second yellow card seconds before the final whistle.
CSKA got off to a brisk start and opened the scoring after two minutes when Croatian winger Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Premier League Everton, latched on to Toni Kroos’s poor backpass and slotted home.
It was Vlasic’s second goal in as many games in this season’s Champions League.
The result continued a dismal streak for Madrid, who have won only two of their last five games in all competitions and coach Julen Lopetegui rued a string of missed opportunities.
“Of course, (they) played at home and the quick goal helped them, but we didn’t take our chances,” he told reporters.
“We need to create scoring chances, I’m sure that sooner or later we will start scoring,” added Lopetegui when asked about their recent struggles in front of goal.
Lopetegui decided to start with FIFA Player of the Year Luka Modric on the bench, while other first-team regulars, such as Wales forward Gareth Bale and Spanish centre back Sergio Ramos, were also absent.
Brazil fullback Marcelo and midfielder Isco were ruled out before the game.
Real, who have won the last three Champions League titles, suffered another injury worry before halftime when Dani Carvajal was replaced by Alvaro Odriozola.
Real Madrid mounted wave upon wave of attacks, and wasted several chances in the first half.
Casemiro could have levelled for the visitors midway through the opening period, but his low shot from outside the penalty area bounced off the post, while Karim Benzema’s header hit the bar five minutes before the interval.
Modric came on in the second half for Casemiro, but the 33-year-old Croatia midfielder could not turn the match in Real’s favour.
CSKA manager Viktor Goncharenko heaped praise on a “magnificent” Vlasic and CSKA’s defence. At the same time he was apprehensive over a possible ban for Akinfeev following his red card.
“He is a half of our whole team,” he said.
CSKA top Group G on four points, one clear of AS Roma in second and Real in third.

Dzeko destroys Plzen as Roma cruise to victory

AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko was again the tormentor for Viktoria Plzen as he scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 Champions League Group G win for the Italian side on Tuesday.
The Bosnia striker also put three past the Czech champions in the Europa League group stages two years ago, having previously found the net against them twice while he was a Manchester City player.
Dzeko put Plzen to the sword again at a boisterous Stadio Olimpico, scoring his first within three minutes as he sprang the offside trap and found the corner with an angled finish.
The home side were playing with confidence after beating rivals Lazio 3-1 in the Rome Derby on Saturday and doubled their lead five minutes before halftime when Dzeko took a cross down on his chest and powered a half-volley beyond the goalkeeper.
The visitors rarely threatened to get back in the game and the result was put beyond doubt in the 64th minute when Cengiz Under was sent through on goal and placed a finish beyond goalkeeper Matus Kozacik.
Plzen’s misery did not end there, however, as Kozacik parried straight into the path of Justin Kluivert, who tapped in to score his first Roma goal.
Dzeko then completed his hat-trick with the final act of the game, heading in his side’s fifth from a corner.
Roma moved up to second place in Group G, one point behind leaders CSKA Moscow and level on three points with Real Madrid.
The result continued a wretched run of away form for Plzen, who have just one victory in their last 16 European away games, and sends them to the bottom of the group with one point.