Shakhtar Donetsk beat Real Madrid 2 – 0 in Champions League. The 13-time European champions are third in Group B with one game to play. Dentinho and Manor Solomon struck in the second half for Shakhtar, who won the reverse fixture 3-2 in Madrid.
Real Madrid’s hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 for a 24th consecutive season hang in the balance after Zinedine Zidane’s side were beaten again by Shakhtar Donetsk.
Borussia Monchengladbach can qualify as group winners with victory over winless Inter Milan later (20:00 GMT).The Spanish champions, currently fourth in La Liga, were without injured pair Eden Hazard and captain Sergio Ramos but welcomed back talisman Karim Benzema for their return to the stadium where they were last crowned European champions in 2018.
Real started well as Marco Asensio hit the post after five minutes and Benzema drew goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin into action.
Trubin then tipped over from Asensio’s powerful shot before half-time and again denied Benzema, before substitute Dentinho pounced on Raphael Varane’s error to score with the hosts’ second shot on target after 57 minutes.
Rather than retreat, Shakhtar pushed for a second and got their reward eight minutes from time when Solomon fired into the bottom corner.
Shakhtar had not scored in three group games since beating Real in October and conceded a total of 10 goals in heavy back-to-back defeats by leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.
But the Ukrainian side, with their superior head-to-head record, now have the upper hand on Real going into next week’s final round of fixtures.
An early exit for Real?
Zidane’s side have struggled for consistency this season and suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Alaves in La Liga on Saturday, extending their winless domestic run to three matches.
Real endured a nightmare start to their European campaign as they followed up their humiliating defeat by a second-string Shakhtar side with a 2-2 draw away to Monchengladbach, courtesy of a dramatic late fightback.
Consecutive victories over Inter Milan looked to have rescued the La Liga side, but another famous victory for Luis Castro’s side has blown qualification for the knockout stages wide open.
Four victories in their past 11 games in all competitions represent a concerning run of form for Zidane’s men, who sit seven points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad in Spain, albeit with a game in hand.
They now face the very real prospect of an unthinkable early exit from Europe’s elite club competition heading into their final group match against Monchengladbach next Wednesday.
Super-sub Solomon – the stats
- With two defeats, Real Madrid have lost as many group games in the Champions League this season as they did under Zinedine Zidane over the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2019-20 campaigns combined, when they lost two of 18.
- Shakhtar Donetsk have won just two of their past nine matches in the Champions League, both victories coming against Real Madrid.
- Three of Manor Solomon’s four Champions League goals have come as a substitute, with two arriving against Real Madrid this season.
- Since the start of last season, Raphael Varane has made four errors leading to a goal in the Champions League, more than any other player.
- Karim Benzema made his 124th appearance in the Champions League, the joint-10th most in the competition’s history.
Source – BBC News