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Club Brugge force Real Madrid to come back from 0-2 down to clinch a point

Club Brugge were just over 5 minutes away from an historic victory in their Champions League game away at Real Madrid on Tuesday evening. As it was the Spaniards drew level and secured a point. However, this does nothing to take away what was an exceptional performance by the team that is currently top of the Belgian First Division.

Long after the final whistle had gone here, Club Brugge’s travelling fans were still singing high in the north stand of Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium. The Club players went back out on the pitch celebrating with them.

Real might have expected their game against the Belgians to be a routine victory. However, it became a race against time to save face and salvage a point.  Had Club Brugge had not gone down to 10 men after their Captain Ruud Vormer was sent off late in the second half they may well have held out to claim all 3 points. However, that we will never know.    

Real Madrid, who have never been knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League have just 1 point, 1 point less than Club Brugge.   

Club Brugge took the lead in the 9th ninth minute. , Percy Tau was played in up the left and he put the ball across for Bonaventure (above) who was racing through the middle. Alone in front of goal Bonaventure failed to control the ball stumbling and watching it bounce off one leg and then the other. The chance seemed wasted. However, the ball dribbled past Thibaut Courtois and into goal. Initially off-side was given, but this decision was reversed by the video ref. 

Real seemed stunned and struggled to escape their own stupefaction. Lucas Vázquez was having an especially horrible time. So was Nacho, beaten often by Krépin Diatta. Madrid had the ball, but every time Brugge came out, they looked vulnerable. Club Brugge could potentially have done even more damage against a well-below par Real.  

At the other end Luka Modric went down in the area, Toni Kroos’s volley went just wide and Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema generally got in each other’s way.  

Benzema’s header was blocked. Simon Mignolet made a great save from Raphaël Varane’s header.

Nevertheless, Club Brugge remained dangerous Courtois had to save from Tau. The South African had slipped clean through behind Nacho thanks to Diatta’s pass.

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Kroos then put a shot fractionally wide for Real. Then came Club’s second goal for Brugge. Modric lost the ball and Bonaventure rushed through. There was no one in his way as he headed towards goal. As he approached the area, Bonaventure stumbled, on the verge of falling, but he stayed upright just long enough to put the ball over Courtois.

The Real coach Zinedine Zidane (photo above) decided that it was time to act. Nacho was replaced by Marcelo and Courtois was replaced by Areola. Areola was almost immediately called upon to prevent Bonaventure from putting Club Brugge three-up. 

Real fight back

The first of Real Madrid’s two goals came on 55 minutes when Ramos headed in Benzema’s cross. The flag was up and Madrid’s captain looked offside. However the VAR

Club Brugge needed to hang on for another half an hour. Ruud Vormer flew in to block a shot from Casemiro, Vázquez bent just wide and Eden Hazard hit past the post from the edge of the box.

Real brought in Vinícius Júnior and Club Brugge took off Bonaventure.

Vinícius ran but had few real chances. Real had 27 shots, but posed little real danger.

Then Vormercaught Vinícius on the ankle. The match referee Georgi Kabakov sent Vormer off and Casemiro headed Madrid level from the resulting free-kick with six minutes to go.

There was a great chance for Ramos to clinch victory for Real. However, it was not to be at the other end there was an injury time chance for substitute Siebe Schrijvers. However, his effort went wide and the match ended 2-2.