"Real Madrid were obviously better than us but we can't be happy with the mistakes we made," Pontus Wernbloom told UEFA.com after PFC CSKA Moskva came unstuck in Spain.
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PFC CSKA Moskva midfielder Pontus Wernbloom insisted he and his team-mates would take collective responsibility for missing the chance to qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after their 5-2 aggregate defeat by Real Madrid CF.
The Swedish international's stoppage-time goal in the Moscow first leg had cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo's opener, but despite a bright start in the Spanish capital, the Army Men found themselves 3-0 down through goals from Gonzalo Higuaín, Ronaldo and substitute Karim Benzema. Although Zoran Tošić reduced the arrears with a spectacular late effort, Ronaldo hit his third of the tie to seal CSKA's fate.
"Real Madrid were obviously better than us but we can't be happy with the mistakes we made," Wernbloom told UEFA.com. "We wanted to win, of course, but that's easier said than done. They were clinical in punishing our errors, taking full advantage when we slipped up. We did our best but in the end they won 4-1."
For many observers, the turning point came in the 55th minute when Sergei Chepchugov – deputising in goal for the injured Igor Akinfeev – spilled Ronaldo's speculative long-range attempt into the net, putting the hosts 2-0 up on the night. Unwilling to blame the 26-year-old keeper, Wernbloom admitted he himself could have done more to prevent the Portuguese international getting his strike away in the first place.
"The goal that made it 2-0 was obviously important but I won't point the finger at our goalkeeper," the former AZ Alkmaar player explained. "Being in a defensive position, I could have put some pressure on Ronaldo – he shouldn't just be able to walk through and shoot as he did. There are many reasons why we lost the game and I don't want to blame anyone. We tried hard but if you play against a team like Real Madrid and you make the mistakes we did, you are going to concede goals."
Midfielder Ahmed Musa said the focus would now turn to Russia's domestic championship, where second-placed CSKA trail Premier-Liga leaders FC Zenit St Petersburg by six points. "It was a very difficult game tonight and one nobody expected us to win, but we did our best," the 19-year-old Nigerian said. "Maybe we should be grateful that we didn't lose by more than 4-1. I want to forget this result as my goal now is to win the Russian league."