What: Champions League Round of 16
Who: CSKA Moscow vs Real Madrid
When: Tuesday 21st February, 2012, at 17:00 UK time
Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia

Get the Job Done

After Bayer Leverkusen, CSKA Moscow suffered possibly the worst draw of the Champions League Round of 16 as they were pitted against Real Madrid. The Army Men have an uphill task in front of them, and needless to say, must put on their best display at the Luzhniki Stadium should their intentions of qualifying for the quarter-finals materialise.

The 2005 UEFA Cup winners go into the game missing star man and captain Igor Akinfeev. Russia’s number one goalkeeper has been on the sidelines ever since succumbing to injury last summer, and it is in times like these where his quality would have been needed as CSKA Moscow prepare to meet their biggest threat this season.

Goalkeeper Sergey Chepchugov might have done a good job in the Russian Premier League so far, keeping his side on Zenit Saint-Petersburg’s tail, but the shot-stopper will be up against the task of his life when facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, amidst others.

Furthermore, CSKA have looked shaky at home this season, winning just one of their three home matches in the Champions League group stage and succumbing against Inter and Lille.

Now to Moscow

Real Madrid consolidated their lead on top of La Liga with yet another brilliant display at home at the weekend, this time against Racing Santander, the one club that managed to draw with Los Merengues this season. With a 32nd league accolade looking more secure with each passing day, the side now turn their attention to Russia and its sub-zero weather.

The win against Racing was Madrid’s ninth consecutive La Liga victory since their 3-1 home defeat to Barcelona last December. Speaking after the game, Jose Mourinho highlighted the good times that his side has been going through recently, while admitting that the match against CSKA will be anything but easy.

“Our eyes are now on the Champions League and we must focus on our match against CSKA Moscow. We’re all happy. We have two days in which to recover”, acknowledged the former FC Porto boss. “We’re a happy bunch and we are very motivated for the match, but we know playing in Moscow will be difficult."

With six wins out of six in the group stages, 19 goals scored and just two conceded, Los Blancos are expected to come back with a win that would make life easier in the return leg.

Recent form

CSKA Moscow:
CSKA Moscow 1-0 Krylia Sovetov (06/02; Marbella Cup)
CSKA Moscow 2-0 Timisoara (09/02; Marbella Cup)
CSKA Moscow 2-2 Shakhtar Donetsk (16/02; Friendly)

Real Madrid:
Getafe 0-1 Real Madrid (04/02; La Liga)
Real Madrid 4-2 Levante (12/02; La Liga)
Real Madrid 4-0 Racing Santander (18/02; La Liga)

Key absences

CSKA Moscow: Mark Gonzalez; Aleksandrs Cauca; Igor Akinfeev

Real Madrid: Hamit Altintop; Lassana Diarra; Gonzalo Higuain (doubt)

Players to watch

CSKA Moscow – Keisuke Honda: The midfield man is the Russian team’s go-to guy against a side of Real Madrid’s calibre. Keeping Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso at bay is crucial for CSKA Moscow to hold any chance of progressing beyond this point.

Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portugal captain appears back to his brilliant best, scoring the opening goal against Racing Santander at the weekend. Leading the Pichichi race and the European Golden Shoe chart, many more goals are expected from him.

Match Prediction

It will be interesting to see how Real Madrid cope in Russia’s ice-cold weather, but Los Blancos should edge their hosts eventually as the gulf in class between the two is considerable. Expect Los Blancos to return home with a 2-0 result.


Who is your money on in this Champions League clash between CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid? Make sure you visit OLBG for tips and to compare the current odds and betting markets available at all the important bookmakers.