Everton’s Nikola Vlasic prepared for Real Madrid by starring in CSKA Moscow’s win at Orenburg. Apparently surplus to requirements at Goodison Park, the Croatian midfielder featured in their 1-0 win in the Russian Premier League. He will no doubt be part of the side that meets the Champions League title holders at the Luzniki Stadium on 2nd October.
Nikola Vlasic stars for CSKA
Orenburg Provides a Test
Facing a team based out near the Kazakhstan border, CSKA were often tested. On an artificial pitch before a small but lively crowd, they had to withstand a lot of direct action. Long balls and crosses often meant the Moscow defence was under pressure. But the experienced Igor Akinfeev dealt with most threats competently, usually punching away those shots that did make it through.
Chalov Scores Again
Although stretched at times, CSKA always looked to have the upper hand in attack and Vlasic was one of the main components in doing this. His surges and combinations with the likes of Dzagoev and Fedor Chalov caused Orenburg multiple problems throughout the game. And it was league top scorer Chalov that would decide the outcome after he was adjudged to have been the victim of a high boot. Like many now, his penalty was confidently delivered from a very slow run-up.
Real Madrid Test Will be Different
So, CSKA could celebrate a tricky away victory. But when they face Los Blancos they will encounter a different set of issues. The likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, plus the left wing maestro Marcelo, will present a completely contrasting pattern of play. Then Everton loanee Nikola Vlasic will really need to be prepared. In Russia, he can be a star but at the level of the Champions League, he will find it a lot harder.