Real Madrid came back from being two goals down to eke out a 2-2 draw against Club Brugge in their second Group A fixture of the 2019-20 Champions League.
Having lost their first Champions League game against PSG, Real Madrid were hoping for a turnaround of fortunes, but were dealt a blow early in the game as a sharp counter-attack from Club Brugge ended with Emmanuel Dennis finding the back of the net just nine minutes in.
Real Madrid dominated possession for most of the first period, but struggled to break through a stubborn backline. Toni Kroos had a couple of chances but sent his efforts wide, while Raphael Varane had a header saved. Close to half-time, the visitors doubled their lead as Dennis capitalized on a mistake from Luka Modric to punish the Merengues.
Dennis almost had his hat-trick early in the second half, but his effort was saved by substitute Alphonse Areola who replaced Thibaut Courtois at half-time.
Ten minutes in, Real Madrid pulled one back through captain Sergio Ramos’ header, with VAR overruling an initial offside call. With five minutes left, Club Brugge skipper Ruud Vormer was sent off for a second booking and Toni Kroos’ delivery from the resulting free-kick was turned home by Casemiro, helping his side claw a point back.
0 – Real Madrid have failed to win their opening two games to a Champions League season for the first time ever (D1 L1). Challenge. pic.twitter.com/o7Zjmau283
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 1, 2019
This is Real Madrid’s worst start ever in the Champions League and while the comeback was commendable, the result will have left a bitter taste among the fans. Here’s how we rated the performances of Zinedine Zidane’s men on the night at the Bernabeu;
Thibaut Courtois: 5/10
After having kept two clean sheets in his last two appearances, the Belgian international faltered on Tuesday night. Although he was hung out to dry by his defence, Courtois should have done better for Club Brugge’s first goal, while he couldn’t do much about the second. Taken off at half-time after feeling ill. Could lose his place to Areola, who was an improvement in the second half.
Dani Carvajal: 4.5/10
Another inefficient display from the Spanish international who lacked any sort of impact in his forward forays, while defensively he was very suspect, especially in the first half. Had the most touches on the night but conceded possession too often. Lost the ball and was caught out of position leading to the first goal. Improved after the break, but left a lot to be desired.
Raphael Varane: 5/10
Caught in no man’s land as Brugge hit Real Madrid on the counter for the opening goal. Almost pulled one back for his team with a powerful header, but was denied by Mignolet. Made a few important interventions thereafter, but his positioning was suspect throughout.
Sergio Ramos: 6/10
The Real Madrid captain, making his first Champions League appearance of the season, was at fault for the visitors’ opening goal and had trouble generally dealing with the pacy counters from Club Brugge, while he conceded possession on a number of occasions. Much improved after the break and brought his team back into the game scoring the first goal with a good header.
The Spaniard did little of note on both attacking and defensive fronts, before his night came to an early end as he was hooked off at half-time with a knee injury; one that will sideline him for almost three months.
Luka Modric: 4/10
Making his first start after returning from injury, the Croatian looked off pace and one wouldn’t be wrong to think that he was rushed back into action a little too early. Gave away the ball cheaply leading to Club Brugge’s second goal and while he worked hard after the break to get his team going, didn’t have the desired impact.
Much like the rest of the team, the Brazilian international had a forgettable first half wherein he gave away possession too easily. But, was one of Real Madrid’s best player after the break as he drove his team forward with intent and tried to make things happen. Gave his everything to get the hosts back into the game and deservedly scored the equalizer with a header to salvage a point.
Toni Kroos: 6.5/10
Once again, the German international was Real Madrid’s most impressive player on the night. Pinpoint with his passing that created some promising opportunities, while he himself came very close to scoring on a couple of occasions with his efforts missing narrowly. Got the assist for Casemiro’s goal with a fine set-piece delivery.
Lucas Vazquez: 4/10
Handed a start on the right flank ahead of Gareth Bale, the Spaniard struggled to make any sort of impact. Dribbled straight into his opponents more often than not, while he lacked any sort of purpose or adventure with his passing. Vazquez’s final ball needs serious improvement. Subbed off in the 67th minute and rightly so.
Karim Benzema: 6.5/10
Was one of the few Real Madrid players who had a decent first half, during which he linked up well with his attacking partners and fashioned a few opportunities for his teammates. Continued to work hard after the break and got the assist for Ramos’ goal with a nice cross.
Eden Hazard: 5/10
An improvement on his performance in the derby at the weekend, but Real Madrid’s marquee signing is nowhere near the level that is expected of him. Made a few dangerous runs and asked some questions of the visitors’ defence, but was often crowded out before he could pull the trigger or find a teammate. Showed a lot of effort, but still far from his best.
Alphonse Areola: 7/10
Replaced the unwell Thibaut Courtois at half-time. Denied Dennis his hat-trick in the second half, which could have spelled the end for Real Madrid. Generally looked much more assured and reliable than the man he replaced, while his distribution was also a major improvement on his competitor. Staking a claim for a regular berth between the sticks.
Came on for the injured Nacho at half-time. Played as a left winger for most of his time on the field and helped Real Madrid keep the pressure on the visitors as they looked for a way back into the game.
Vinicius Junior: 6/10
Thrown on in place of Vazquez with a little over twenty minutes left on the clock. Had a few bright moments, but his end product still needs work.