The defence faltered woefully while Luka Jovic and Rodrygo Goes failed to grab their opportunity as Real Madrid fell to a 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Real Madrid dominated possession in the early exchanges, but were unable to make much of that. In fact, a depleted Shakhtar Donetsk carved out the better openings, with Marlos testing Thibaut Courtois just 15 minutes into the game. Real Madrid had one decent opportunity thereafter, but Marcelo’s deep cross was met with a tame header by Luka Jovic.
That was as good as it got for the hosts in the first half, as a 13-minute spell saw Shakhtar grab a three-goal lead. It was Tete who broke the deadlock ahead of the half hour mark and three minutes later, Raphael Varane bundled the goal into the back of his own net. Heading into half-time, Real Madrid were three behind, as Manor Salomon finished a fine counter-attacking move.
Real Madrid scored two quick goals within the first 15 minutes of the second period, with Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr. trimming Shakhtar Donetsk’s lead to just one goal. Both sides subsequently had clear-cut opportunities to find the back of the net, but the defending Ukrainian champions held firm to grab all three points. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
It was a nightmarish evening for everyone at the back, as far as Real Madrid were concerned. But, for Courtois, it was more of helplessness from receiving very little cover from the defenders in front of him. For his part, the Real Madrid goalkeeper made three fantastic saves to keep the scoreline less humiliating, but he could not have done much to keep out any of the three goals he let in.
Ferland Mendy: 5/10
Deployed in an unfamiliar right-back role, Mendy was never entirely comfortable on the night. While the Frenchman did carry a great deal of threat down the right flank and was a constant outlet in the final third, he often left space in behind him, which was exploited to good effect by Shakhtar. When he did indulge in duels, Mendy came out on top more often than not. A game to forget, still.
Raphael Varane: 3/10
With Sergio Ramos out injured, Varane had the responsibility of being the leader at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. However, for a second successive Champions League game, the Frenchman imploded dramatically.
Varane was unable to organise the backline and the fact that he and the rest of the Real Madrid defence occupied a high line meant that there was often space to exploit. Also dragged out of position a number of times and to make matters worse, he also scored an own goal.
Eder Militao: 3/10
Ramos’s replacement was Eder Militao, who had a golden chance to impress Zidane. However, the Brazilian failed remarkably. The youngster was all over the place during the course of the match, especially in a chaotic first half, when he was nowhere to be seen for two of the goals that Shakhtar scored. Much improved in the second half, but the damage was already done by then.
Along with Varane, Marcelo had a lot of responsibility in the absence of Ramos. However, while the veteran full-back posed a great deal of threat going down the left flank, defensively he was a mess with Tete often finding space in behind him. Camped in the opposition half all through the second half and he played in 3 key passes. A lot of improvements to be made at the back, though.
Federico Valverde: 5/10
Back into the side after starting on the bench against Cadiz, Valverde started the game on a strong note but was rendered anonymous during the Shakhtar Donetsk onslaught. Imposed himself more post the interval and thought he had salvaged a point for Real Madrid late on, only for the goal to be ruled out due to Vinicius Jr. being offside.
Casemiro was one of the better performers for Real Madrid in the first half, but Shakhtar managed to find a way to bypass him straight through to Courtois. When on the ball, the Brazilian was a little too wasteful at times, when his passing needed to be crisper. Will need to be at his best later this week against Barcelona, who will be high on confidence following their big win on Tuesday.
Luka Modric: 6/10
📊| Luka Modrić vs Shakhtar stats:
• 92 touches.
• 71/78 passes (91%).
• 2 key passes.
• 9/11 long balls completed.
• 3 tackles.
• 1 dribble completed.
• 1 golazo.
A fantastic turnaround in the second half. pic.twitter.com/ATj54qiAZT
— Blanco Zone (@theBlancoZone) October 21, 2020
Modric was easily the best of the lot among who started for Real Madrid. The Croat constantly looked to make things happen, but was left frustrated in the final 20 minutes of the first half. Sparked the comeback hopes with a peach of a strike just 9 minutes after the break and played in 2 key passes as well. Taken off for Toni Kroos for the final quarter of the game.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
Asensio was a bundle of energy all through the game, but his end product was not always on point. The Spaniard was often pinned to the right flank, which left him isolated on occasion. However, he was incredibly precise when linking up with his teammates, misplacing just 4 passes. Needs to do much much better, though, when it comes to his final ball.
Luka Jovic: 4/10
Given a chance to make an impression, Jovic was handed a fine opening by Marcelo early in the first half. However, his headed effort was tame and it deflected off his shoulder into the palms of Antolii Trubin. Apart from that chance, though, the Serb was hardly visible, with his movement leaving a lot to be desired. Hooked off for Vinicius Jr. which proved to be a much-needed change.
Rodrygo Goes: 4/10
Another player who had a lot riding on the performance against Shakhtar Donetsk. However, Rodrygo hardly made an impact and was unable to find a way into the game. Taken off at half-time, as Zidane introduced Karim Benzema. Looks short of confidence and is in need of some inspiration.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Benzema arrived into the game post the interval and was an immediate upgrade over the rest of the Real Madrid attack. The French striker found a way to engineer some openings in the first 20 minutes or so after being introduced, enabling Modric and Vinicius to score. However, in the final quarter of the game, Shakhtar shut shop and there was very little Benzema could do then.
Vinicius Jr.: 7/10
— Infinite Madrid (@InfiniteMadrid) October 21, 2020
The brightest spark for Real Madrid on the night. Mere moments after replacing Jovic, Vinicius Jr. pounced on a mistake by the Shakhtar defence to score with his first touch. Continued posing a great deal of threat for the final half hour or so, but Shakhtar did not relent. Poor positioning late on meant Valverde’s strike was ruled out for him being offside.
Toni Kroos: 5/10
Kroos was introduced to carve open space through the Shakhtar defence. But, the German playmaker was unable to do so, with the visitors remaining stubborn in the final minutes of the game.