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Set for Real Russian roulette

sports Updated: Mar 14, 2012 01:23 IST
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s red-hot run of form and La Liga leaders Real Madrid’s almost perfect home record makes them favourites to see off CSKA Moscow in their Champions League last 16 second leg on Wednesday.

Ronaldo is Real’s leading scorer with 40 goals in all competitions and he has scored nine in his last six outings, including two in their 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday.

He netted the opener against CSKA last month when Real were pegged back to a 1-1 draw on the artificial pitch at an ice-cold Luzhniki stadium — a result which ended Jose Mourinho’s perfect start to the competition. “Ronaldo is mentally very strong, has a burning desire to succeed and is very ambitious,” former Real striker and current director Emilio Butragueno said. “In Europe you have to be very careful, you cannot afford any slip ups.”

Only Barcelona have beaten Mourinho’s team at the Bernabeu this season, otherwise they have won every other game.

Meanwhile, CSKA looked below par in Friday’s Moscow derby against Dynamo, which ended in a 1-1 draw, keeping the army team second, six points behind leaders Zenit St Petersburg with 10 games remaining. With goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev and winger Mark Gonzalez still out with injuries, CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky is expected to make few changes, bringing back defensive midfielder Pavel Mamayev. blues gear up for

Italian job at home
London: Premier League honour will be at stake here Wednesday as Chelsea attempt to overturn a first-leg deficit against Napoli and prevent England’s worst Champions League campaign for 16 years. Not since the 1995-1996 edition — when Blackburn Rovers were bombed out in the group phase — has an English team failed to reach the quarters.

Since Andre Villas-Boas’s dismissal, Chelsea have shown signs of a mini-revival, grinding out a 2-0 FA Cup victory at Birming-ham followed by a 1-0 win over Stoke at the weekend.

Those two results marked the first time in nearly two months that Chelsea had kept clean sheets in consecutive matches.

Chelsea have been buoyed by the return of captain John Terry. “In football nothing is impossible and at Stamford Bridge we have had good results in the Champions League," Spanish midfielder Juan Mata said.