Real Madrid Vs. CSKA Moscow, 2012 UEFA Champions League Draw: Could Los Merengues Be Tested?

Real Madrid probably would have preferred to avoid a trip away to Russia, but the draw was not kind to them. Still, they could have drawn a team in better form and with a better track record of success than CSKA Moscow, so in that respect, Jose Mourinho won't be too bothered. Real and CSKA is one of the most intriguing ties in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, and the Russians will need a big result at home.

Real Madrid vs. CSKA Moscow

Key player

Xabi Alonso - CSKA Moscow are a fantastic team, but their center of midfield is perhaps the softest part of their squad. Their defense has the talent to deal with Madrid's front line and they have the attacking talent to score goals, but no one is going to keep Xabi Alonso from dictating play.

Matchup to watch

Pepe vs. Vagner Love - The battle between the CSKA forwards and Madrid back line should be good in general, but Pepe and Love could be clashing heads most often. Pepe likes to close down the ball more aggressively than the average center back, while Love will drop deep to link the midfield and Seydou Doumbia. Expect these two to get into it more than a couple of times.

Prediction

Real Madrid go through by one goal - Los Merengues aren't going to need the away goals rule or extra time, but CSKA will make this difficult with a one-goal win in a nasty game at Luzhniki Stadium. That won't be enough, with Madrid winning by two at the Bernabeu.

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