Real Madrid survived yet another shock defeat in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage courtesy of two late goals to secure a 2-2 draw away at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Playing with confidence from their Clasico win at the weekend, it was the visitors who began the match on the front foot. The first half chance almost fell to Karim Benzema, but for Matthias Ginter making a crucial last-ditch block in the box to block a certain Vinicius Junior assist.
The hosts seemed content to stay tight at the back and hit Madrid on the counter, but the ball was being circulated well by the Spaniards, allowing Toni Kroos to have a pop at goal which was saved well to his left by Yann Sommer.
As good as Madrid were, they looked toothless in front of goal, which has been a constant theme this season. Gladbach were playing the first ball out of the Madrid press well, and they executed one break to perfection at the half hour mark. Alassane Pléa played a wonderful pass after a defensive error from Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, Marcus Thuram with a delightful first time finish into the top corner.
Marco Asensio was Madrid’s best forward in the opening period, and a nice overlapping run had the Spanish forward in on goal when Kroos picked him out between the lines, though Asensio’s shot was saved nicely at the near post by Sommer.
It was a decent half from Madrid, and they were unlucky to be behind at the break, controlling the ball, but ultimately, they lacked the final ball in the final third.
After the break, Asensio had a shot early on which came back off the bar, and then Federico Valverde teed up Vinicius, but the 20-year old shanked his shot with a clear sight of goal. Before the hour mark, Madrid’s luck was out. Plea with a shot from distance which was comfortably kept out by Thibaut Courtois, but the rebound fell to Thuram, who scored after being played onside by Ferland Mendy.
It could have been a lot worse for La Liga’s champions, but for a huge save from Courtois to deny Plea when he was one-on-one and through on goal. Changes were needed, and Zinedine Zidane brought on Luka Modric and Eden Hazard for his first minutes of the season. Both made an impact.
With three minutes to go, Casemiro kept the ball alive with a header across goal, headed down to Benzema who acrobatically got one back for Madrid. From that moment on, it was all the visitors. In stoppage time, Lucas Vazquez with another cross, this time Ramos headed it down, for Casemiro to tuck it into an empty net, to save Madrid’s blushes, and secured an invaluable point away from home. But it doesn’t get any easier for Madrid, as they now have to face Inter Milan home and away in their next two matchdays, which will most likely decide their group stage fate.
Zidane’s issues are still there though, Madrid continue to struggle breaking down well organised teams that sit deep, but with the return of Hazard, the signs of improvement in that respect are already there.
Up next for Real Madrid?
Who? Huesca CF
When? Saturday 31st October @ 14:00 CET
Where? Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano