With a stoppage-time equalizer, Real Madrid narrowly escaped their first loss of the year and advanced to the next round of the Champions League. Los Blancos’ chances of cruising to the knockouts round appeared to be seriously jeopardized as Shakhtar held the lead for more than 45 minutes. But Antonio Rudiger put his head where it hurt by nodding in a thrilling equalizer late in the game, taking a severe punch to the face in the process.
The former Chelsea defender was employed as a part-time striker in the second half to force a result as Madrid, who were far from their best for much of the game, increased their pressure. They will play Champions League knockout football again in the coming year as a result of the success of that strategy.
Another excellent chance for Eden Hazard to establish his dominance over the starting lineup was lost. He found it difficult to have any impact on the game and was eventually removed just before the hour mark by Vinicius Junior, who had been given a break in advance of El Clasico.
In the days leading up to the journey to Warsaw, Ancelotti and his players would have been keeping a watch on Sunday’s El Clasico. After winning their first three Champions League games, the match versus Barcelona is unquestionably a more crucial event.
According to manager interviews, the Shakhtar team played simply great in the first half of the game. Madrid is watching the Clasico, which has begun. Madrid’s reply to Rudiger is “Sweat and Blood.” It is not too common, judging by the stadium’s shifting audience. Shakhtar experienced that.
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