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Pontus Wernbloom earned PFC CSKA Moskva a dramatic home draw with the last kick of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against Real Madrid CF, just as the Spanish side looked set to take a slender lead back to the Santiago Bernabéu.
Wernbloom, making his CSKA debut having joined from AZ Alkmaar in January, prodded in an equaliser three minutes into added time to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half strike. Madrid were on course for a seventh successive victory in the competition when Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 28th minute, yet CSKA had other ideas to preserve their unbeaten record against Spanish opponents in what was their first competitive fixture since matchday six.
Roared on by a capacity crowd, CSKA had belied any potential lack of match sharpness early on, starting at a furious pace and taking the game to their visitors. That early pressure could have paid dividends after just seven minutes. Georgi Schennikov produced a fine cross from the left which found Alan Dzagoev in front of goal. The midfielder twisted acrobatically to meet the ball with his left foot, only for his volley to fly wide of Iker Casillas's right-hand post.
Madrid took time to find their feet, but capitalised on some uncertainty in the CSKA defence to open the scoring before the half-hour. The Russian side had several opportunities to clear their lines yet failed to do so, Zoran Tošić's weak header presenting Ronaldo with the ball inside the penalty area. The forward needed no second invitation, drilling a low left-foot shot past Sergei Chepchugov and inside the far post for his fourth goal in this season's competition.
The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of possession after the break and within minutes of the restart a fine reverse pass by Ronaldo set up José Callejón, but the midfielder skewed his effort wide. CSKA were having to play on the counterattack although the lively Ahmed Musa, another debutant, was increasingly influential. The Nigerian midfielder might have levelled just past the hour but failed to find the target from the edge of the penalty area with the unmarked Seydou Doumbia perhaps a better option.
Needing an equaliser, CSKA were forced to commit to attack in ever greater numbers and nearly paid the price when Ronaldo broke through on the right. This time Chepchugov was equal to it, his touch sending the ball over the crossbar, before the Portuguese forward sent another low effort just past the post after being played in by Xabi Alonso's defence-splitting pass; CSKA duly capitalised on that let-off.
Having struggled to threaten Casillas's goal throughout the 90 minutes, the hosts finally worked a way through as Dzagoev's cross found its way to Aleksei Berezutski at the far post. The defender nodded across goal for Wernbloom to volley in from close range and ensure CSKA travel to Spain for the second leg on 21 March still unbeaten in six matches against Liga opposition.
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