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Xabi Alonso was left ruing Real Madrid CF's failure to score a second goal as they conceded late on to let victory slip from their grasp at PFC CSKA Moskva.
The visitors were on course to extend their winning run in this season's UEFA Champions League to seven matches having withstood CSKA's early pressure to take the lead midway through the first half through Cristiano Ronaldo's clinical finish. Madrid passed up several opportunities to add to their advantage, however, with Ronaldo twice, José Callejón and Sergio Ramos all unable to convert clear openings, and the Spanish side were made to pay by Pontus Wernbloom's equaliser in the game's final move.
"It was a shame we couldn't score the crucial second goal which would have given us a much better result. Then we conceded late on, which changed the complexion of the tie," midfielder Alonso told UEFA.com. "Not getting the second allowed them to [stay in] the game and when we conceded that late goal there wasn't time for anything else."
Despite the 93rd-minute setback, Alonso and his team-mates left Russia confident of progressing to the quarter-finals when they welcome CSKA to the Santiago Bernabéu for the round of 16 second leg on 14 March. "It's not a bad result, we're confident enough of winning at home and going through to the next round," the 30-year-old explained. "There's another 90 minutes to come and we hope we'll get a good result.
It's frustrating, because we were in control and probably deserved to have a better result, but credit to them. They kept fighting until the last minute."
Madrid defender Ramos also acknowledged the quality of a CSKA side contesting their first competitive fixture since 7 December, with debutant Ahmed Musa a livewire as the Muscovites put together several slick moves. "They have players in attack who are very fast and provide a lot of quality and movement," he said. "[Their football] is a bit more direct than ours so you have to concentrate for the whole game – these are players who will create problems if you give them space. They have a great team and I hope we can control them in the second leg."
The centre-back, 25, was nonetheless as optimistic as Alonso that the nine-time European champions can finish the job in three weeks' time, adding: "We did everything we could to win this match, but it's not the end of the world that we didn't – everything will be decided in the second leg. It will all be different at home."
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