Shakhtar stunned Real Madrid

Shakhtar stunned Real Madrid

In matchday one of the Champions League group stage, Shakhtar Donetsk beat Real Madrid 2:3.

Even in the absence of Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal and Eden Hazard, Real Madrid remain the favorites of almost any competition in the Champions League. So it was in the debut match of the group stage of the tournament against Ukrainian Shakhtar. The same familiar 4-3-3 from Zinedine Zidane and a bit experimental attack with Rodrigo, Asensio and Jovic on the edge.

Shakhtar had much more problems. Alan Patrick, Ismaily, Kovalenko, Konoplyanka, Kryvtsov, Matviyenko, Moraes, Stepanenko, Taison and Pyatov were not included in the line-up due to the coronavirus epidemic in the club and injuries. Almost all of these footballers are starting players; therefore, waiting for a positive outcome in Madrid was a utopia, even for the club's fans.

Real Madrid players also expected an easy walk, so they didn't exert themselves too much. The Orange-and-Blacks entered the match with the understanding that they would only use counterattacks. This is their feature, which was back under Mircea Lucescu and has remained for the last fifteen years, despite the coaching staff. Shakhtar coped with the starting assault on Zinedine Zidane's team, and then used their 4-1-4-1 formation when going on counterattacks  and scored three goals against Los Blancos in 13 minutes.

A big part of the success of the first half lays on the shoulders of Tete, who was incredible on the right wing, as well as Solomon, who showed Ferland Mendy his true place in the camp of the Spanish champion. In the second half of the match, Real Madrid came out more collected and charged. Zidane immediately admitted failure in the attack experiments and replaced Rodrigo with Benzema. Not without the help of individual stats, Modric reduced the advantage, and 15 seconds after entering the pitch, Vinicius reduced it to a minimum.

The remaining half hour of the match was akin to Stalingrad. The miners took the ball far away in the hope that the players would be able to catch on ahead and win time. And in the last minutes the referee of the match stole a draw from the pocket of Madrid, cancelling Valverde's goal after a corner kick due to a passive offside position of Vinicius.

There are several reasons for Real Madrid's defeat against Shakhtar, but they are all interconnected. The huge underestimation of the opponent, the semi-finalist of the Europa League, was multiplied by the obvious shortcomings of the team defenders in the person of Eder Militao and Rafael Varane. It's no secret that these players look terrible together, and without Sergio Ramos, Real lost seven of eight last matches in the Champions League. But even this does not belittle the merits of Shakhtar, who beat the reigning champions of Spain without exaggeration with the reserve squad.