Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:53 am
Real Madrid suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe on Wednesday when the already-qualified Spaniards were thumped 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu by CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League.
The Russian side’s remarkable victory, however, was still not enough to secure them a spot in the Europa League as they were pipped to third place in Group G by Viktoria Plzen.
Feder Chalov put CSKA in front against the group winners and triple UEFA Champions League winners with a curling shot in the 37th minute.
Georgi Shchennikov doubled the visitors’ advantage two minutes before halftime with a scrappy volley on the rebound.
Iceland international Arnor Sigurdsson struck a remarkable third goal for the Russians in the 73rd minute.
It helped complete an unlikely second victory for CSKA over Real Madrid in this UEFA Champions League campaign and provoking loud boos and whistles from the unhappy home supporters.
CSKA’s only two wins in the competition this season have come against the 13-times winners.
They finished bottom of the group on seven points due to their inferior head-to-head record against Plzen, who beat AS Roma 2-1.
Real Madrid, who were already guaranteed top spot, remained on 12 points while Roma, who had clinched second place in the group, ended on nine.
Coach Santiago Solari made seven changes from the side who had scraped a 1-0 victory over La Liga basement club Huesca on Sunday.
This included handing winger Vinicius Jr. and defender Javi Sanchez their first starts in the UEFA Champions League.
“It was important to give the young players and those coming back from injury a chance to play, but we did not expect this result,” Solari told reporters.
“I took risks with the starting line-up we played and I take responsibility for that.
“We weren’t convincing in our box or the opposing area, but they were and that’s why the game turned out how it did.”
CSKA also won 1-0 in the Russian capital in October when Julen Lopetegui was in charge of the Spaniards.
That result sparked the beginning of the end for the Spanish coach’s brief spell in charge of Real Madrid.
Spain international Marco Asensio came close to giving Real Madrid the lead when he struck the post midway through the first half.
But CSKA grew in confidence as the game progressed, particularly after taking the lead.
Hoping to spark a second-half revival, Solari threw on Gareth Bale but had a scare when the injury-prone Wales forward appeared to hurt his ankle.
He required treatment on the pitch, but was eventually able to continue.
Solari, who has won eight and lost two games since succeeding Lopetegui, said he had no complaints with the fans booing his side’s display.
“It’s normal for the fans to express themselves if they do not like what they see, but we did not like it either,” he added.