Berlin, 2 December 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Real Madrid’s chances of Champions League progression hang in the balance after their 2-0 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, while Liverpool and Porto both booked their places in the round of 16.
Dentinho and Manor Solomon scored for Shakhtar, whose superior head-to-head record against Madrid saw them leapfrog Zinedine Zidane’s side in Group B. Borussia Moenchengladbach remain top despite their 3-2 defeat versus Inter Milan.
Liverpool‘s 1-0 win over Ajax thanks to a Curtis Jones goal not only sees them through to the next round but also secures top spot in Group D after Atalanta drew 1-1 with Midtjylland.
Porto only needed a 0-0 draw against Manchester City, which they got, to confirm progression from Group C. The point was also enough for the Citizens to secure first place.
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 with Bayern Munich, Marseille beat Olympiacos 2-1 and Red Bull Salzburg defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1.
Real were the better side in the first 45 minutes in Ukraine, but they failed to make their opponents pay.
Two substitutes were the heroes for Shakhtar after the interval. First, Dentinho drilled past Thibaut Courtois after replacing the injured Junior Moraes in the first-half, and Solomon came on for Taison before scoring from outside the area.
Shakhtar’s 3-2 win in Spain earlier this campaign means they are only the fourth team to beat Real twice in the Champions League group stage in the same season. Madrid sit third in the group.
Zidane said, “We are on a bad run of results but the only way forward is to continue. This was a ‘final’ and we prepared well for it; the ball just wouldn’t go in tonight. Now we have a game left – we must win it and go through.”
“I’m an optimist, this is a complicated moment but we have to draw on our character and pride. It’s a real pity about this because we didn’t deserve to lose here. Now it’s time to believe.”
Shakhtar coach Luis Castro was delighted with his players, saying, “I want to congratulate my players because I know how they wholly devote themselves to the game. My boys work a lot and sacrifice themselves. They are simply fantastic.”
In Moenchengladbach, Matteo Darmian opened the scoring before Alassane Plea equalised on the stroke of half-time. A Romelu Lukaku brace put Inter in control, and although Plea pulled one back, it was not enough to earn a point.
A draw against Real Madrid next week will be enough to see Moenchengladbach through.
Jones and David Neres hit the woodwork for their respective teams before the former’s deft touch gave Liverpool the three points against Ajax.
The Dutch side are third behind Atalanta, who needed Cristian Romero’s strike to cancel out Alexander Scholz’s effort to earn a point against bottom side Midtjylland.
“It was a very tough game, as we knew it would be,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told BT Sport.
“But I thought the boys were outstanding, they gave it everything for the full 90 minutes, and deservedly got the win.”
A rotated Manchester City side failed to break down Porto despite having several chances to take the lead.
Gabriel Jesus did have the ball in the back of the net in the 80th minute, but the Brazil international was judged offside by the Video Assistant Referee.
Olympiacos are third in the group despite their loss against Marseille. Mady Camara opened the scoring, but Dimitri Payet then netted twice from the penalty spot to end a run of 13 consecutive Champions League group stage matches without a win for the French side.
In Group A, Joao Felix’s sweeping effort put Atletico ahead against the already-qualified Bayern. Thomas Mueller’s late penalty levelled things up and prevented Diego Simeone’s men from confirming their spot in the next round, but the draw did end the current holders’ 15-game unbeaten run in this competition.
Mergim Berisha netted twice for Salzburg before Anton Miranchuk scored a penalty to halve the deficit. However, Karim Adeyemi restored the two-goal buffer to push Salzburg up to third, behind Atletico.
The two face each other next week during the group stage’s final matchday.