NYON: Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said he is “not going to resign” after a 2-0 defeat away to Shakhtar Donetsk left his side’s hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 in the balance.
The 13-time European champions are third in Group B, with all four sides still able to qualify in next week’s final round of matches. Real must beat leaders Borussia Monchengladbach in Madrid to guarantee progress.
Zidane said: “I am not going to resign, not at all. We are always going to have difficult moments, and we are on a bad run, but we need to keep going.
“I have the strength needed to turn the situation around and I am going to give everything to do that. So are the players. We played well and we deserved more. We just need to lift our heads up and think about the next game.”
It was Real’s second defeat by Shakhtar in this season’s competition, the Ukrainian side winning the reverse fixture 3-2 in Madrid. Real suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat by Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Internazionale beat Borissia 3-2 to keep alive their own hopes of qualification.
TUESDAY – Gp A: Lok Moscow 1, Salzburg 3; At. Madrid 1, Bayern Munich 1. Gp B: Shakhtar 2, Real Madrid 0; Borussia Mg 2, Inter 3. Gp C: Porto 0, Man. City 0; Marseille 2, Olympiacos 1. Gp D: Atalanta 1, Midtjylland 1; Liverpool 1, Ajax 0.
A blunder by Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana gifted Curtis Jones his first Champions League goal and handed Liverpool qualification to the last 16 as Group D winners with a 1-0 victory at Anfield.
The focus had been all been on Caoimhin Kelleher making his competition debut between the posts for Jurgen Klopp’s side because of injury to Alisson Becker but the 22-year-old did not put a foot wrong.
Instead the spotlight fell on Onana, making his 23rd Champions League appearance, who inexplicably pulled out of claiming Neco Williams’ inswinging cross and Jones nipped in behind him to score the decisive goal just before the hour.
Liverpool needed only a draw from the fixture to secure progress to the knockout stage but Midtjylland getting a point against Atalanta guaranteed top spot, rendering next week’s trip to Denmark a dead rubber and giving Klopp some much-needed breathing room to rest some of his players.
Alisson is likely to be out for up to 10 days with a hamstring problem sustained at Brighton on Saturday, taking the injury count up to nine.
Klopp opted to play Kelleher, who had only four domestic cup appearances to his name, instead of established number two Adrian and was not disappointed as the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international produced several good saves, the best late on from experienced goalscorer Klaas Jan Huntelaar’s close-range header.
Manchester City failed to fire but still secured top spot in Champions League Group C after a goalless draw away to Porto.
Gabriel Jesus had a goal disallowed by VAR and Raheem Sterling had a shot cleared off the line but, with a place in the last 16 already assured, City lacked their usual intensity at the Estadio do Dragao.
With goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin impressing, Porto proved stubborn opposition and held on for the point that also takes them through to the knockout stages alongside City.