Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid gave the Santiago Bernabeu the reaction they would have wanted to dropping points for the first time this season on Sunday, even if it didn’t add up on the scoreline.
There was no mystery to the plot on Wednesday evening as from early on, Shakhtar set out their stall to defend deep against Los Blancos. Quick and dynamic, Real Madrid moved the ball at pace and showed little concern for the problem of breaking that deep block.
Shots began to rain in on the Shakhtar goal and after just 13 minutes, Rodrygo Goes latched onto his own errant pass and shot, with Anatoliy Trubin failing to palm the ball wide.
Just before the half-hour mark, Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo put together a sweeping move, sliding Vinicius Junior behind the defence. He in turn slid the ball into the corner.
It looked as if the floodgates might open then, but Shakhtar and Trubin showed remarkable resilience. Oleksandr Zubkov pulled one back on the break, with a scissor kick from the middle of the box into the bottom corner. That was just before half-time, and, noticing that Zubkov was unmarked, the goal left Carlo Ancelotti frustrated and Shakhtar in the game.
The second half was much of the same affair, as Real Madrid experimented with different ways not to finish off their chances. Benzema in particular felt short-changed for his efforts.
As the game grew to its end, there was some concern that Shakhtar, on one of their rare forays forward, might grab an equaliser from nothing.
The match somehow ended 2-1. Los Blancos had shot at goal 36 times and managed just two goals, but ultimately the result was the important thing. It leaves them top of the group with a 100% record, with a five point lead over Shakhtar before they head to Poland to play the Ukrainian side next week.