Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has taken responsibility for a ‘bad night’ as the 13 European Cup winners were dealt a humiliating defeat by a second-tier Shakhtar Donetsk side.
The Ukrainian champions arrived in Madrid without 13 first-team players after 19 club-wide positive Covid-19 tests, forcing them to call up players from the youth squad.
But Luis Castro’s young side were not deterred and took an incredible, but completely justified, 3-0 lead on Real’s empty Alfredo di Stefano training ground.
Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior’s goals after the break gave hope, but there was no escape for the most decorated team in the competition despite a dramatic final.
Federico Valverde thought he hit a leveler in the stoppage time, but after a pitch watch referee check Srdjan Jovanovic refused the goal for offside.
The loss follows a shock 1-0 home loss Newly promoted Cadiz in La Liga on Saturday.
“I didn’t see the team the way I wanted and when you don’t see the team the way you wanted it is your fault,” Zidane said.
“It’s a bad game, a bad night. I am the coach and it is up to me to find the solution.
“We deserve the reviews, all of us, and me first. Luckily we had a reaction in the second half because they don’t deserve it, they’re champions and that bothers me.
“I am responsible and I have to look for solutions because this cannot happen. “
Club legend Zidane has won the Champions League in each of his first three seasons at the helm of Real, but his decision to leave the players with next Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona in mind was a rare and huge aberration.
Without captain Sergio Ramos – left in the stands with a knee injury – Madrid’s defense was messed up and there was little they could do to stop Mateus Tete and Manor Solomon from scoring on either side of an own goal by Raphael Varane.
Tellingly, Real have now lost seven of their last eight Champions League games without Ramos deep in their backline.
Ex-Tottenham midfielder Modric hit a superb long-range strike to bring a silver lining and although Vinicius scored within 15 seconds of his arrival Shakhtar held on for a famous result. .
“We have a game every three days. But hey, there’s no excuse, ”said Zidane.
“These are decisions that I made and I have to find what will cause us to become strong again and to win. And I have a few days. “
‘We are living a nightmare’
Castro was asked at his pre-match press conference whether the game should have been called off due to their exhaustion, with the ex-Porto boss admitting “right now we are living a nightmare”.
Instead, it was a first-half dream for his intrepid squad which numbered eight under-23 players. Captain Marlos had already squandered a glorious chance to give Donetsk the lead when Tete passed Thibaut Courtois after a sad defense against Varane and Marcelo.
Varane then played in his own net after Courtois failed to hold a shot from Tete, and Solomon swept a handsome third after a smooth play from a touch separated Real.
Real sent Karim Benzema rested at the break and gained a foothold in the game when Modric scored a magnificent goal, pushing a 25 yards into the top corner.
The comeback was well and truly arrived when Vinicius scored with his first touch, after a defensive failure.
Shakhtar camped in defense but had chances to seal him on the counter, with Tete wasting good chances twice and Marlos seeing a fourth ruled out for offside.
There was more offside drama to come. Valverde’s shot from a short corner beat 19-year-old goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin, but Vinicius was offside, right in his eyes and the goal was chalked.
After a summer that saw no inbound transfers, Zidane now has his work cut out for him to qualify in a squad that also includes Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach.
He can write more history, however – as neither team has won the Champions League after losing their opener.
First time this century – the statistics
- Real have lost three consecutive matches in the European Cup / Champions League for the first time since September 1986.
- Shakhtar are the first Ukrainian team to win against Real in the Champions League since March 1999, when Dynamo Kiev won 2-0 – before either of Shakhtar’s two scorers were born tonight (Manor Solomon in July 1999 and Tete in February 2000).
- Raphael Varane became the third player to score two goals against his own Champions League for Real, along with Ivan Helguera and Sergio Ramos.
- Vinicius Junior scored for Real just 15 seconds after being substituted – it’s the fastest Champions League replacement goal since 2006-07 (when Opta collected this data).
- Luka Modric became the fourth player to score for Real in the European Cup / Champions League at the age of 35 or over, following Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Paco Gento.
- Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin became the second youngest goalkeeper to debut against Real in Champions League history (19 years and 81 days), behind only Schalke’s Timon Wellenreuther in February 2015 (19 years old 77d ).
- 3MilitantBooked at 87 minutes
- dixModricReplaced byKroosat 70 ‘minutes
- 11AsensioBooked at 34 minutes
- 18JovicReplaced byVinícius Júniorat 59 ‘minutes
- 25RodrygoReplaced byBenzemaat 45 ‘minutes
- 20Vinícius Júnior
- 2Lamb of Saints
- 77BondarBooked at 83 minutes
- 15KorniienkoBooked at 8 minutes
- 27by Andrade Barberan
- 14Cardoso Lemos Martins
- 8Mark AntonioReplaced byV’Yunnikat 90 + 4 piminutes
- 19SalomonReplaced byda Silva Matosat 90 + 2 piminutes
- 9DentinhoReplaced bySudakovat 86 ‘minutes
- 28Robson Cipriano
- 49da Silva Matos
Le match se termine, Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 3.
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 3.
Casemiro (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Faute de Bogdan V’Yunnik (Shakhtar Donetsk).
Substitution, Shakhtar Donetsk. Bogdan V’Yunnik replaces Marcos Antônio.
VAR decision: no goal Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk.
GOAL REVERSIBLE BY VAR: Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) scores but the goal is ruled out after a VAR exam.
Offside, Real Madrid. Federico Valverde tries a through ball, but Vinícius Júnior is caught offside.
Substitution, Shakhtar Donetsk. Vitão replaces Manor Solomon.
Corner, Real Madrid. Corner, Greece.Conceded by Manor Solomon.
Corner, Real Madrid. Corner, Greece.Conceded by Viktor Korniienko.
Eder Militão (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Faute by Eder Militão (Real Madrid).
Tetê (Shakhtar Donetsk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Shakhtar Donetsk. Heorhii Sudakov replaces Dentinho.
Corner, Real Madrid. Corner, Belgium.Conceded by Davit Khocholava.
Valerii Bondar (Shakhtar Donetsk) is shown a yellow card.
Foul by Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).
Dodô (Shakhtar Donetsk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Shakhtar Donetsk. Marcos Antônio with a pass, but Tetê is caught offside.