Match Report: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Real Madrid: Rudiger’s last-gasp

Antonio Rudiger equalised for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk
Antonio Rudiger equalised for Real Madrid against Shakhtar Donetsk

Oleksandr Zubkov opened the scoring a minute into the second half to put the Ukrainian side in sight of a sensational result on Tuesday, with the hosts close to doubling their lead when Lassina Traore clipped the crossbar.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side, needing a point to secure safe passage to the round of 16, went for broke in the closing stages by moving Antonio Rudiger into a forward role.

That provided the breakthrough in the closing seconds, the German defender heading past Anatoliy Trubin to deny what would have been a famous victory.

A passive first half saw limited opportunities, Karim Benzema having the first sight of goal after 18 minutes with a stinging shot to test Anatoliy Trubin, who then enjoyed a quiet spell before tipping Federico Valverde’s effort from long distance over the bar.

Shakhtar capitalised on their visitors’ poor showing by taking the lead just minutes into the second period, Bohdan Mykhailichenko providing the cross for Zubkov to head past compatriot Andriy Lunin.

As below-par Madrid toiled, Shakhtar continued to pose more threat – Traore rounding Lunin but only chipping his effort against the crossbar, with Zubkov then forcing the Madrid goalkeeper into action before Mykhaylo Mudryk dragged an attempt wide.

Those missed chances ultimately proved costly, with makeshift striker Rudiger – having nodded just wide a few moments prior – heading home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to send Madrid through.

What does it mean? Shakhtar raising hope

In a week that saw Russia resume missile strikes across Ukraine, including on the capital in Kyiv, Shakhtar displayed a valiant performance in their adopted home in Poland.

Fans of the club have not been able to watch their side in Donetsk since 2014, with the Donetsk Oblast region one of three now annexed by Russia, but Shakhtar have flown the flag for Ukraine in the Champions League and were agonisingly close to a memorable win.

While Rudiger’s last-gasp header will be a bitter pill to swallow, Shakhtar can hold their head high following a display where they were by far the better side and deserved more than the point they finished with. They sit third in Group F, a point behind second-placed RB Leipzig with two games remaining.

Zubkov makes his mark

Benzema, one goal shy of 75 in the Champions League for Real Madrid, would have been expected to be among the most impressive attacking performers in Warsaw but that title was clinched by Zubkov.

The midfielder had five attempts on goal, more than any other player on the field, making an impact in a notable way despite finishing with 67 per cent passing accuracy – lower than anyone else.

Hapless Hazard

Eden Hazard’s woes with Madrid are well documented and the Belgium forward was again a passenger, failing to find a foothold in the game before being hauled off shortly before the hour mark.

Hazard registered just one touch in the box and four final-third entries, with his total of 35 touches being less than any other starting player for Madrid. In comparison, Vinicius Junior, his replacement, had 31 touches.

What’s next?

Madrid host Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday, while Shakhtar face Dynamo Kyiv on the same day.

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