MADRID: Real Madrid suffered a third – and most painful – successive Champions League loss in opening their Group B campaign with a 3-2 home defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk.
It could have been worse. Madrid were a devastating 3-0 down at halftime to the Ukrainian club who were missing 10 senior players because of Covid-19 restrictions. They lost both their second round ties against Manchester City last spring.
The match was played in Madrid’s training centre stadium, the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, while redevelopment work continues on the Estadio Bernabeu.
Mateus Tete struck with 29 minutes on the clock as his left-footed effort was driven into the bottom corner before Raphael Varane poked the ball into his own net to extend the advantage four minutes later. With half-time approaching, Manor Solomon made it three.
Luka Modric struck with a fine effort from range and Vinícius Júnior scored just seconds after coming on to narrow the lead to one goal just before the hour mark.
Tete had two big chances to kill off the game but was halted by the goalkeeper while Marlos was denied by the offside flag as Shakhtar looked to hold off the Real comeback.
In the final moments, Real thought they had equalised when Federico Valverde’s shot found its way past Anatolii Trubin but after a VAR check, the goal was chalked off with Vinícius stood in an offside position and influencing the goalkeeper’s decision.
The other Group B match saw Internazionale need a late goal from Romelu Lukaku – his eighth of the new season – to rescue a 2-2 home draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Group A saw the other Madrid club, Atletico, thrashed 4-0 by European champions Bayern Munich who took command of the table since Lokomotiv Moscow forced a 2-2 draw away to RB Salzburg.
Both English clubs began with a win.
Liverpool won 1-0 away to Ajax thanks to a first-half own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico in Group D while Manchester City hit back from 1-0 down to defeat Porto 3-1 in Group C.
Gp A: Salzburg 2, Lok Moscow 2; Bayern 4, At. Madrid 0. Gp B: Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar 3; Inter 2, Borussia Mg 2. Gp C: Man. City 3, Porto 1; Olympiacos 1, Marseille 0. Gp D: Ajax 0, Liverpool 1; FC Midtjylland 0, Atalanta 4.