Real Madrid were humbled on their own turf against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk tonight. Shakhtar were without as many as 10 first-team players due to coronavirus complications.
Zinedine Zidane fielded a strong Blancos side ahead of El Clasico at the weekend. There was rotation, but mainly in the forward line. Luka Jovic came in for Karim Benzema, whilst Rodrygo replaced Vinicius Junior. Marco Asensio started on the right, and was spritely in the opening minutes.
However, Shakhtar shocked Madrid by going 3-0 up before half-time. Los Blancos’ defence endured a torrid evening, with Raphael Varane having scored an own goal, and Eder Militao completely losing concentration to allow Manor Soloman to sneak in and net the visitors’ third.
Madrid did fight back in the second-half, after Zidane brought on Benzema and Vinicius. However, it was not enough. Los Blancos could only find two goals through a fantastic Modric strike and a Vinicius finish.
The loss leaves Madrid in a tricky situation in a group also featuring Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Zidane spoke after Wednesday’s game, and was honest in taking responsibility.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) October 21, 2020
“I’m responsible and I have to look for solutions,” said the Frenchman.
“We lacked confidence and started the game badly. Latter on we reacted, but it wasn’t enough, so I will think and think.”
“El Clasico? We have to review today’s game and prepare for what’s coming.”
With a huge game against Barcelona next up, Zidane will certainly need to solve his side’s issues, and fast. Vinicius was forgiving of his coach, however.
“We played in the worst way possible today, we couldn’t do what Zidane asked us to do,” said the Brazilian.
El Clasico is set to take place at the Camp Nou at 3pm on Saturday.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.