Real Madrid salvages 2-2 home draw against Club Brugge
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid had to overcome a disastrous first half against Club Brugge to avoid a second consecutive loss to open its Champions League campaign.
Real Madrid rallied from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw against the Belgian club on Tuesday, avoiding a home defeat that would have left the 13-time European champions in a deep hole in Group A.
Young Nigerian forward Emmanuel Bonaventure scored two first-half goals — imitating former Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after the second — but the hosts recovered with headers by Sergio Ramos in the 55th and Casemiro in the 85th.
Casemiro’s header came from a free kick straight after Brugge went down to 10 men as captain Ruud Vormer was sent off for a second yellow card.
“We didn’t get off to a good start. We had a bad first half,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “They created problems for us. We couldn’t control anything. But in the second half it was completely different. We changed our attitude. We played with more heart. You have to be focused from the first minute and we didn’t do that.”
Madrid stayed last in Group A, two points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, which visits Galatasaray later Tuesday. Brugge, which has never advanced to the knockout round, has two points, one more than Galatasaray.
“It’s still a historic game. We scored two goals against Real Madrid. We played so well,” Brugge coach Philippe Clement said. “Of course, we would have liked to go home with three points, but this is a historic night.”
Madrid, which lost 3-0 at PSG in the first round, hasn’t failed to advance past the group stage since the 1989-90 season.
The result kept Madrid from losing a third straight Champions League game at home. It lost to CSKA Moscow in the group stage last season, then to Ajax as it was eliminated in the round of 16.
Bonaventure’s first goal and Ramos’ score for Madrid were confirmed by video review after being initially disallowed for offside.
Brugge struck first as Bonaventure scored from close range after a fast breakaway in the ninth minute, finding the net with a fortuitous shot that sent Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois the wrong way. Bonaventure tried to control the ball with his right foot but it ended up ricocheting off his left leg before trickling past a fallen Courtois across the line.
Madrid pressed forward but Brugge kept threatening on counterattacks and Bonaventure added to the lead after a great run that started with a mistake by Luka Modric in the midfield. The 21-year-old forward stumbled at the end of the run but still found a way to send a shot over Courtois. He then imitated the traditional celebration of Ronaldo, jumping and opening his arms as he fell back to the ground.
“Everyone expected them to beat us easily,” Bonaventure said. “We prepared for them, we believed and we had a good feeling. I am a little bit disappointed in a way, but also happy that we won a point against a big team.”
One of Madrid’s best chances was a close-range header by defender Raphael Varane that forced Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to make a terrific reflex save when the score was 1-0. Mignolet also made some good saves in the second half but couldn’t stop the headers by Ramos — who was back in the squad after a suspension — and Casemiro.
Madrid kept attacking throughout the second half, finishing with 27 total attempts.
Zidane made a surprising goalkeeping change at halftime, replacing Courtois — who had been jeered by part of the Bernabéu crowd — with Alphonse Areola. The coach didn’t give a clear reason for why he replaced Courtois, only saying the goalkeeper wasn’t well and couldn’t continue.
In his first action early in the second half, Areola made a great save to keep Bonaventure from adding his third goal after another fast counterattack.
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