Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos were among a number of key players missing at the Luzhniki Stadium but it was Kroos’ dreadful backpass that allowed Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Everton, to put CSKA ahead after just 68 seconds.
Madrid searched for an equaliser but, despite hitting the woodwork three times, were resisted by a determined CSKA defence. The reigning European champions have now failed to score in three consecutive matches.
CSKA’s veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was sent off deep into added time after picking up two yellow cards for dissent but nothing could spoil the hosts’ victory. They climb above Madrid in Group G, with Julen Lopetegui’s side lacking spark, thrust and cutting edge in attack. They missed Bale, Isco and, perhaps even, the lethal touch of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale and Ramos were both left at home to rest by Lopetegui while Isco and Marcelo are recovering from an appendix operation and calf injury respectively. Luka Modric started on the bench. The absence of the established names meant a youthful line-up which included a debut for left-back Sergio Reguilon, the 21-year-old who has been with the club’s academy since the age of eight.
Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio both started too while summer signing Alvaro Odriozola came on in the second half for his Champions League debut. All three are 22. Lucas Vazquez, reduced to a fringe player so far under Lopetegui, was given a rare outing while Keylor Navas came in for Thibaut Courtois in goal to continue the policy of one in La Liga and the other in Europe. Madrid were three down by half-time against Sevilla last week and this time they were behind within two minutes.