Real Madrid fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Club Brugge on Tuesday thanks to a late equaliser from Casemiro.
The visitors stunned the Santiago Bernabeu in the first half through two goals from Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, but Sergio Ramos and Casemiro clawed back a point for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
A 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on matchday one had led to some speculation over Zidane’s position as head coach and the nature of their first-half display against Brugge will have done little to ease the pressure.
The comeback, secured after Ruud Vormer’s red card, at least spared some of Madrid’s blushes and means they are only a point behind Brugge in Group A, who drew with Galatasaray in their opening match.
Dennis made a mess of Percy Tau’s low ninth-minute cross, but his poor touch saw the ball elude Thibaut Courtois and nestle in the Madrid net, with a VAR check sparing the visitors after an initial offside flag.
Simon Mignolet saved superbly from a Casemiro header, while Toni Kroos twice shot narrowly wide, but Madrid looked short of ideas in attack and pedestrian in possession.
It got worse six minutes before the break when Luka Modric’s careless pass sent Dennis through on goal and, after stumbling, he lofted the ball over Courtois and celebrated by mimicking former Madrid favourite Cristiano Ronaldo.
3 – Real Madrid have conceded 2+ goals in three consecutive home games in all European competitions for the first time in their history. Leaky. pic.twitter.com/0GdQWM4eld
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 1, 2019
Zidane reacted by taking off Courtois – reportedly feeling unwell – and Nacho Fernandez for Alphonse Areola and Marcelo at half-time, but Dennis almost made it three when he had a shot saved.
Captain Ramos then halved the deficit with a 55th-minute header from Karim Benzema’s cross, with VAR ruling the goal should stand after offside was initially given.
Just as Madrid appeared to be running out of time and ideas, away skipper Vormer was sent off for a second booking and Casemiro steered Toni Kroos’ delivery beyond the stranded Mignolet to snatch a point with five minutes left.
What does it mean? Madrid’s wretched European form puts Zidane under greater pressure
Madrid have not won any of their last three home games in the Champions League and were close to a third defeat in a row in the competition for the first time since 1981.
They might be top of LaLiga, but this level of form in Europe will do nothing to strengthen Zidane’s position as coach as rumours build of a Jose Mourinho return, especially with new signings such as Luka Jovic failing to get off the bench again.
Qualification for the last 16 remains in their hands and the comeback was laudable, but this was still a humbling result in a worrying run of form.
Deli serves up a treat
Simon Deli barged aside Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior on separate occasions, underlining an imperious performance at the heart of the Brugge defence.
Courtois’ Madrid plight continues
Even if his half-time withdrawal was beyond his control, this was not a positive outing for Courtois, who conceded two from three shots on target, the first of which was almost comical.
Key Opta Stats:
– Madrid have gone at least two goals behind in a Champions League match without losing the game for the first time since December 2006 against Dynamo Kyiv (2-2).
– Brugge are unbeaten in six Champions League matches (W1 D5), having lost eight in a row before this run.
– Brugge’s opening goal, scored via Dennis, was the earliest they have ever netted in a Champions League game (8 minutes, 9 seconds).
– Ramos has scored in a 10th different season in the Champions League, becoming just the second defender to do so in the competition after Gerard Pique (also 10).
– Aged 21 years and 320 days, Dennis became the third youngest player to score at least twice in a game against Real Madrid in the Champions League after Alexandre Pato in 2009-10 (20y 49d) and Dele Alli in 2017-18 (21y 204d).
Madrid, who host Granada in LaLiga next up on Saturday, head to Galatasaray on Champions League matchday three on October 22. Brugge host PSG on the same day.
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