Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema fall flat as Real Madrid find no joy in Moscow

Real Madrid failed to trouble the scoreboard for the third game in a row against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night at the Luzhniki Stadium. The only goal of the match came via Nikola Vlasic in the second minute, as Real Madrid tried but failed to break through the home side's rearguard.


There are none. Real Madrid have gone more than 300 minutes without scoring, and while they dominated possession, the fact that they couldn't score makes it even worse. They won't play a worse attacking team this season, and they still ended up losing. Julen Lopetegui faces a goal-scoring crisis that plenty saw coming without Cristiano Ronaldo.


Real Madrid continue to dominate possession without any potency in front of goal. Dani Carvajal is injured again, and Real Madrid looked tired and out of ideas at times on Tuesday night.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Lopetegui picked the team he had at his disposal, given the injuries to Isco and Marcelo and the fact that Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale needed a rest. His decision to leave Karim Benzema on in the second half was baffling as Mariano Diaz came on. The Real Madrid manager had used all of his subs after 57 minutes and hamstrung himself later on with his hastiness.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Keylor Navas, 6 -- He had little to do in the first half after the goal, for which he was left flat-footed. He made one good save in the second half but had nothing to do with CSKA retreating into their own half for long spells.

DF Dani Carvajal, 5 -- Off injured after 43 minutes. CSKA Moscow's rare attacks tended to come down Carvajal's side of the field. Didn't get forward during his spell on the field and didn't do much of note defensively.

DF Nacho, 6 -- Real Madrid, in general, were shaky whenever Moscow broke through. Nacho was assured at times but not as solid as usual. This might be a symptom of the entire defensive unit's fallibility, but it's not sustainable.

DF Raphael Varane, 6 -- Might have done better for the goal, but Toni Kroos put him in a really bad situation. Had nothing to do for most of the game but, like Nacho, looked unsure at times.

DF Sergio Reguilon, 5 -- Showed a willingness to get forward, but his final ball lacked quality. He didn't command the kind of respect Marcelo does on the left, meaning CSKA could play more narrow in defence. Decent debut but nothing to boast about.

MF Toni Kroos, 5 -- At fault for the first goal with a headless back pass that immediately put his teammates in danger. He recovered well, though, and looked like Real Madrid's most likely source of creating a goal.

MF Casemiro, 4 -- Gave the ball away cheaply twice in the first half, which led to two dangerous attacks. Improved after 20 minutes and hit the post with a shot. Taken off with 32 minutes left to play, as he both wasn't needed and wasn't having a particularly memorable night.

MF Dani Ceballos, 5 -- Failed to have the impact he did on Saturday against Atletico Madrid. He did try, but Moscow were too physical and smart in their handling of him. Showed flashes in the second half, as he zipped across the attacking line and linked well with Alvaro Odriozola.

MF Marco Asensio, 3 -- A frustrating night for the attacker. Forced Igor Akinfeev into a nice save in the second half and tried too hard after that, making the wrong decision more often than not when shooting and in good positions.

MF Lucas Vazquez, 4 -- Looked like a man keen to impress in his first start of the season. Ran up and down the line when he was on the field but produced little of note. Replaced after 58 minutes by Mariano Diaz.

FW Karim Benzema, 4 -- It keeps getting worse for Benzema. He has no shots on target now in six games. Hit the crossbar with a header, but he's short on confidence, and those around him appear to be losing confidence in him too. Unclear role when Mariano came on too, as he loitered around the edge of the box without being involved.


DF Alvaro Odriozola, 6 -- Replaced Dani Carvajal after 43 minutes. Flattered to deceive down the right flank, and he had plenty of possession. Did calibrate his crossing late on with a couple of nifty deliveries but all to no avail.

MF Luka Modric, 5 -- Came on for Casemiro after 58 minutes. He did make an impact in front of CSKA's defence but Real Madrid didn't need another passer. They needed directness and something different. Not back to his best just yet after a grueling summer.

FW Mariano Diaz, 6 -- Had a couple of half-chances in the 33 minutes he was on the field. Hit the post with a header and was really eager to meet crosses. His aggressiveness nearly paid dividends, but it ultimately proved futile.