A goal from on-loan Everton winger Nikola Vlasic gave CSKA Moscow a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid spinning the current Champions League holders into full-blown crisis.
They have now failed to win their last three games, and gone three matches without scoring for the first time in almost 12 years. Not since January 2007 has there been such a drought. This was a tough night for the holders with Cristiano Ronaldo's absence starting to tell and Gareth Bale nursing a groin niggle back in Madrid.
It was a misplaced Toni Kroos pass that gifted CSKA Moscow victory. The German’s near-impeccable passing stats are as predictable as a Moscow winter but his loose ball gave Vlasic a chance he took full advantage of.
CSKA Moscow took the lead inside two minutes when midfielder Nikola Vlasic latched onto a loose Toni Kroos pass
The Everton loanee charged into the box and produced a composed finish past a helpless Keylor Navas in goal
The CSKA Moscow players go wild in the corner as they celebrate taking an early lead against the defending champions
CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Becao, Chernov, Nababkin, Bijol, Akhmetov, Vlasic, Dzagoev (Efremov 65), Oblyakov, Chalov.
Subs not used: Kymats, Sigurdsson, Nishimura, Magnusson, Gordyushenko, Zhamaletdinov.
Goals: Vlasic 2
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal (Odriozola 43), Varane, Nacho, Reguilon, Kroos, Casemiro (Modric 58), Ceballos, Lucas (Mariano 58), Benzema, Asensio.
Subs not used: Courtois, Vallejo, Llorente, Vinicius Junior.
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan
The 20-year-old Croatian made 19 appearances for Everton last season after a £10 million move from Hajduk Split but was loaned out by Marco Silva at the start of the season to throw Group G wide open.
The Kroos collectors item came after just two minutes. Raphael Varane headed the ball across the edge of the penalty area to Nacho and he nudged it forward to Kroos. The Germans’ idea was to send it back to Varane but it was under hit and intercepted by Vlasic who took one touch before sending it past Keylor Navas.
Madrid tried to recover quickly with Kroos doing his best to make amends for his error with a shot that was saved under the bar by Igor Akinfeev.