Live Real Madrid Blog: Reaction to Los Blancos' defeat to CSKA Moscow

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Hola Madridistas!

The Sport360 Team is in place bringing you the latest Real Madrid news on Wednesday.

Last night, Los Blancos came unstuck as Julen Lopetegui’s men went down 1-0 at CSKA Moscow in Group H.

Everton loanee Nikola Vlasic got a second minute winner for the hosts as he impressively pounced upon a stray Toni Kroos back pass and fired past Keylor Navas, who was preferred to Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.

14:30 – Baca beat Real Madrid to become first sports team to surpass $1 billion in revenue

Real Madrid confirmed it raked in $892 million in revenues during the 2017-18 fiscal year, $203 million less than Barcelona.

In fact, the Camp Nou side are the first professional sports team to surpass the billion dollar mark.

13:00 – Navas admits ‘no one knows what is happening’ at Real Madrid

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has full confidence in his Los Blancos team-mates that the goals will come again after three successive games without a goal.

The 31-year-old was preferred to Thibaut Courtois between the sticks as the Whites went down 1-0 at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night in Russia.

Keylor Navas could do nothing to stop Nikola Vlasic's opener.

Keylor Navas could do nothing to stop Nikola Vlasic’s opener.

11am – Real ‘can’t live in the past’ thinking about Ronaldo, warns Nacho

Real Madrid defender Nacho has again reiterated that the club are moving on from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Whites went down 1-0 against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night in the Champions League, compounding the misery of a poor recent run of form for Julen Lopetegui’s men.

But Nacho has insisted Ronaldo’s absence has no bearing on results this season:

10am – Check out our Real player ratings

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (R) and CSKA Moscow's Slovenian midfielder Jaka Bijol vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between PFC CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid CF at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on October 2, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Struggled to make an impact: Karim Benzema.

How did Madrid fare in Russia last night? Read Tom Biggs’ ratings.

9.30am – Analysis as the Whites are beaten

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Julen Lopetegui of Real Madrid gestures during the Group G match of the UEFA Champions League between CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid at the Luzhniki Stadium on October 02, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

A second defeat of the season for Julen Lopetegui’s side.

Sport360’s Alex Rea runs the rule over Real following Tuesday night’s shock loss.

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Real Madrid's poor penetration leads to shock 1-0 defeat and Grade D against CSKA Moscow

Alex Rea 3/10/2018
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CSKA Moscow's Croatian midfielder Nikola Vlasic (C) celebrates with teammates

Toni Kroos’ mistake proved costly as Real Madrid’s goalscoring problems continued on Tuesday with a surprise 1-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos were among a number of key players missing at Luzhniki Stadium, but it was Kroos’ dreadful backpass that allowed Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Everton, to put CSKA ahead after just 68 seconds.

Madrid searched for an equaliser but, despite hitting the woodwork three times, were resisted by a determined CSKA defence. The reigning European champions have now failed to score in three-consecutive matches.

CSKA’s veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was sent off deep into added time after picking up two yellow cards for dissent, but nothing could spoil the hosts’ victory.

They climb above Madrid in Group G, with Julen Lopetegui’s side lacking spark, thrust and cutting edge in attack. They missed Bale, Isco and, perhaps even, the lethal touch of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here is our report card from Moscow.

THE GOOD

CSKA’s bolted backline – From the second minute onward, CSKA retreated into their defensive shell and bounced away most of what Real had to offer.

Their organisation was impeccable, two fine examples of their defensive rigour in the form of the two young DMs Ilzat Akhmetov (20) and Jaka Bijol (19).

Space was shut down with a quickness and the three centre-backs blanketed the bombardment of crosses with relative ease. The game was comparable to that of the last time a Spanish side was in Moscow as defence beat out attack between Russia and La Roja at World Cup 2018.

Kroos’ desperation to make amends – Kroos will be rightly chastised for his appalling pass which led to Vlasic’s winner, but if you take that error out of his game, he was the standout for Real.

Clearly driven by a desire to make amends, the German played like a man possessed.

He led the way in key passes (four), passes (126) and touches (147), while marrying that all to an absurd 93.7-per-cent pass accuracy. And his pass map won’t be one of sideways or backwards recycling, but of forward-thinking and angled balls into the channels or pinpoint deliveries into the box.

The 28-year-old was Madrid’s best player and it was a shame the maestro midfielder gifted the game’s best opportunity to the opposition.

THE BAD

Asensio off the Marc – Marco Asensio is pinned up as the poster boy for Spanish football, but he’ll be held up as a target for derision after his performance in Moscow.

The creative impetus largely rested on him with Isco and Bale unavailable and the 22-year-old flattered to deceive. In key areas to hammer efforts off targets when the pass was on.

When he did opt to look for a team-mate, his crosses from threatening positions were well overhit and it makes you wonder if Asensio is far more effective as a substitute as opposed to a trusted starter.

Poor penetration – There was a degree of fortune for the hosts as Karim Benzema, Casemiro and substitute Mariano Diaz all struck the woodwork with cutting opportunities.

However, given the absolute domination of possession from Los Blancos, their lack of penetration between the lines was verging on farcical. Without the ingenuity of Isco, the directness of Bale and to an extent the advancing pressure from the back through Ramos, Madrid really struggled to make anything happen.

TACTICAL TURNING POINT

Switch to 4-4-2

Not exactly a turning point because it did little to impact the scoreline, but Madrid switched into 4-4-2 formation from a 4-3-3 after going a goal behind and it was not pretty.

Asensio and Benzema formed a front two, but too often the latter dropped too deep to receive possession while the former was incredibly wasteful.

The idea was to try and get more numbers into the box. Yet, whenever Kroos turned and looked to break the CSKA mold, the options were limited as Madrid players jogged forward.

Igor Akinfeev and Karim Benzema

Igor Akinfeev and Karim Benzema

They resorted to pointless cyclical passing around the box before lumping wayward crosses into the box for the hosts to easily defend.

Upon his arrival, Lopetegui talked of his Madrid being one hallmarked by goals. They’ve now gone more than five hours in all competitions without finding the net.

It raises serious questions as to whether a possession-heavy style of football is no longer effective in the current era.

VERDICT

CSKA Moscow – A

Those who love to see attacking football will balk at a grading which celebrates CSKA’s rigidity, but there is an art to defending and this performance needs plastering over the wall they created to keep Madrid out. This is a young team and their discipline and organisation was something to marvel at.

Real Madrid – D

It is the first time in 11 years Real Madrid have failed to score in three-straight games and to be quite honest, they seldom looked like breaking that drought in Moscow.

Yes, three chances struck the woodwork but when you factor in their dominance, it was a dire display from the visitors. When you look at this team, you see playmakers and passers but not a single goalscoring threat. That threat now resides in Italy.

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Player ratings as Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio disappoint in Real Madrid's loss to CSKA Moscow

Tom Biggs 3/10/2018
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Real Madrid‘s run without a win stretched to four games after they suffered a 1-0 defeat away to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

With Gareth Bale and Isco out injured, Julen Lopetegui‘s lacked guile and penetration in attack, as they failed to recover from a nightmare start in which Everton loanee Nikola Vlasic opened the scoring after just two minutes.

Casemiro, Karim Benzema and substitute Mariano Diaz all hit the woodwork in what proved to be a game of attack against defence, with the hosts protecting their early advantage.

Lopetegui’s men have now failed to score in three consecutive matches – the first time that has happened since 2007 – with Raphael Varane missing a glorious chance late on to salvage a point for his side in Russia.

Real Madrid (4-3-3)

Keylor Navas – 5: Had very little to do after picking the ball out of his net in the second minute. Made a smart stop from Jaka Bijol’s low drive in the second half. Could do nothing about the goal.

Dani Carvajal – 4: His best moment came shortly before coming off injured, darting in behind the defence to meet a wonderful pass from Toni Kroos, but he failed with his final ball and did very little else.

Raphael Varane – 4: Back at the scene of his summer success with France, Varane certainly wasn’t the player we saw at the World Cup. His indecisiveness allowed Vlasic to pounce, while he looked uncomfortable on the rare occasions in which the hosts did attack. Wasted his side’s best chance with almost the final touch of the game.

Nacho – 6: Cleared up a couple of rare CSKA advances confidently, despite playing as the left-sided central defender. Looked far more composed on the ball than defensive partner Varane on the night.

Sergio Reguilon – 5: It’s perhaps slightly harsh to compare Reguilon to Marcelo, but how Real Madrid could have done with the Brazilian’s penetration in Moscow. His deputy struggled to provide the quality needed from wide to break down a stubborn defence.

Toni Kroos – 6: His extremely lax pass allowed Vlasic to hand CSKA the lead, but he was Madrid’s chief instigator thereafter, controlling possession and dictating proceedings. A lack of movement going forward prevented him from creating more for his side.

Casemiro – 6: Hit the post just before the 30-minute mark and did well to win the ball back in advanced positions as Madrid looked to up the tempo, before being replaced by Luka Modric early in the second half.

Dani Ceballos – 5: Kept possession well for Los Blancos, but played very few penetrating passes to open up the opposition. Drifted towards the left later on and it was from there that he saw his deflected strike almost find the far corner.

Lucas Vazquez – 4: A very underwhelming display from the Spaniard. Struggled up against Ivan Oblyakov down Madrid’s right. Was hooked early in the second half with Lopetegui opting to bring on Mariano alongside Benzema.

Karim Benzema – 5: With Bale and Isco both out injured, Lopetegui needed Benzema to step up. Handed the captain’s armband, the Frenchman saw a header hit the bar, but wasted a couple of good chances that he should have done better with.

Marco Asensio – 5: Switched between playing from the left, the right and through the middle, but it just wasn’t his night. Had one long-range effort pushed away by Igor Akinfeev and produced some neat touches, but his end product was lacking on too many occasions.

SUBS:

Alvaro Odriozola – 6: Came on just before half-time and got forward well, but struggled to pick out a team-mate with his crosses. Produced a terrific block to deny CSKA on the counter in the second half.

Mariano Diaz – 5: Would’ve been hoping to come on and make a similar impact to the one he did against Roma and almost did. Was unlucky to see his header come back off the post and had two other half chances late on.

Luka Modric – 6: Just like Kroos, a lack of movement ahead of him made life difficult. Had a good chance late on as he timed his run into the box perfectly, but failed to get his header on target.

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