Bernabeu blues for Real
Madrid manager Santiago Solari rues decision to pick young players in 0-3 hammering by CSKA Moscow; European giants record their heaviest Champions League defeat at home
Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari offered no excuses after his Spanish giants were floored 3-0 by CSKA Moscow on Wednesday. Real had already qualified for the Champions League last-16 as Group G winners, but that should not mask a poor performance, even if it was by a much-changed team.
Despite CSKA's victory, though, they could not secure third place in the group and Europa League qualification after Viktoria Plzen took that spot by beating Roma 2-1. And that was rough justice on the Russian side, whose European season came to an end on a night of otherwise unbridled joy. It was Real's heaviest European home defeat and their first home reversal in the Champions League group stage for nine years.
Goals by Fedor Chalov, Georgi Schennikov and Arnor Sigurdsson secured an emphatic CSKA success. "I'm down because although we were through, we wanted to finish the group with a win, and we didn't do that," Solari said. "We started the game well, especially the first 30-35 minutes, but we weren't good enough in either box and they punished us. I didn't like what I saw in the second half.
"It is my job to get the side ready, and I picked a young group today, but this allowed them to get some minutes into their legs and gain experience." CSKA boss, Viktor Goncharenko, added: "It's sad to say the least to beat Real Madrid, earn seven points, but finish bottom and get eliminated from Europe. "But we only have ourselves to blame. In any case, we've made sure we will spend the holidays in a great mood after tonight's win."
Juve, Man United lose
Meanwhile, French striker Guillaume Hoarau scored in either half as the Swiss champions Young Boys inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Juventus in their final group game on Wednesday in Switzerland but the Italian giants still took top spot in Group H after Manchester United lost by the same scoreline to Spanish team Valencia.
Bayern top group
In a Group E match, Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern pipped Ajax to top spot after a dramatic 3-3 draw which saw both sides finish with 10 men. The point was enough to put Bayern into the Last 16 as group winners in Amsterdam with five goals, two penalties and two red cards in an action-packed second half.
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