Champions League - Wernbloom denies Madrid
Tue, 21 Feb 18:59:00 2012
Pontus Wernbloom scored with the last kick of the ball as CSKA Moscow rescued a dramatic 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 first leg clash at Luzhniki Stadium.
Jose Mourinho's side looked poised for victory when Cristiano Ronaldo benefited from some slipshod defending to sweep the loose ball home from inside the CKSA box on 28 minutes with his 122nd goal for Real in 124 appearances.
They looked in command until the dying seconds - the second of three minutes added on to the match - when Swedish midfielder Wernbloom popped up to thrash a volley beyond visiting goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who had little to do up until that point.
There was barely time for Real to restart the match before the referee's whistle sounded for full-time amid some scenes of bedlam.
It was the first goal Real had conceded away from home in the Champions League this season.
Despite being jolted by their failure to win the tie, Real Madrid remain strong favourites to progress to the quarter-finals with the return leg at the Bernabeu on March 14.
It was a memorable occasion for Wernbloom, who joined CSKA from Dutch club AZ last month. The Russian side did not look like an outfit who had come out of hibernation in playing their first match in two months due to the harsh Russian winter.
In temperatures below freezing, the 70,000 home fans made it a warm occasion for the Spanish league leaders on their artificial surface.
The Russian club have yet to lose a European match against Spanish opposition, winning three and drawing three.
CSKA - whose other notable move saw Alan Dzagoev hook a volley wide on seven minutes - owe a huge gratitude of thanks to their goalkeeper Sergey Chepchugov, who was only called on due to the knee injury that prevented regular choice Igor Akinfeev from being fit.
Chepchugov made a brilliant double stop to deny Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira from finding the opening goal on 16 minutes before making saves from Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo moments after the Portuguese forward had given the visiting side the lead.
Chepchugov pulled off another timely stop from Jose Maria Callejon in the second half. He then spread himself to keep out an effort from Ronaldo as Real somehow failed to add to their opening goal.
They paid the price for their profligacy late in the match when Wernbloom netted, but a draw in Moscow is far from a disaster for the Spanish side who are seeking a first Champions League success since they last lifted the big trophy in Glasgow a decade ago.
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