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From Russia with Love: CKSA Moscow stun Real Madrid as Champions League holders suffer away defeat

Nikola Vlasic struck after 65 seconds at the Luzhniki Stadium to give CSKA Moscow a famous win.

CSKA players celebrate at the final whistle in Moscow on Tuesday night.
CSKA players celebrate at the final whistle in Moscow on Tuesday night.
Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko

REAL MADRID’S POOR form continued as the Champions League holders, shorn of star names, fell to a 1-0 loss away to an organised CSKA Moscow side in Group G.

Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Everton, gave CSKA a second-minute lead at the Luzhniki Stadium, profiting from diabolical defending to rifle home from the edge of the Madrid penalty area.

Casemiro and Karim Benzema both hit the woodwork before half-time in Tuesday’s tie, with coach Julen Lopetegui turning to Luka Modric and Mariano Diaz – who headed against the post late on – from the bench.

But with key men including Isco and Gareth Bale absent due to injury and captain Sergio Ramos rested, Madrid fell to defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium and have now failed to score in three consecutive matches, with CSKA celebrating a famous win despite Igor Akinfeev’s 96th-minute red card.

Russia Soccer Champions League CSKA midfielder Nikola Vlasic challenges for the ball with Luka Modric and Nacho Fernandez. Source: AP/PA Images

Keylor Navas was back in goal for Madrid and he had to pick the ball out of his net after just 65 seconds, Vlasic rifling home after a combination of errors from Toni Kroos and Raphael Varane.

Akinfeev denied Kroos a chance to make amends but Fedor Chalov should have made it 2-0 after more poor defending, instead hitting a tame shot Navas saved easily.

Casemiro’s placed 25-yarder clipped the post and Benzema’s header also came back off the woodwork before the break, after which Lopetegui sent on Modric and Mariano.

But a toothless Madrid continued to toil, Benzema wasting a good chance and Marco Asensio slicing a volley over the angle.

Mariano cracked a towering header against the post in the last minute of normal time and Varane headed wide before Akinfeev saw red for furiously confronting referee Ovidiu Hategan.

But after another game without a Madrid goal questions will be asked about decisions made by Lopetegui.

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