A last-minute goal from Casemiro completed a stunning comeback from Real Madrid on Tuesday that earned the Spanish giants its first point of the new Champions League campaign.
Madrid had been trailing German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 until the 87th minute before the visitors mounted a late surge to avoid humiliation and a fourth consecutive defeat in the competition.
Talismanic striker Karim Benzema dragged one back for his side with an acrobatic finish before Brazilian Casemiro fired into the roof of the net in stoppage time to tie the scores 2-2.
The two late goals canceled out Marcus Thuram’s double for Monchengladbach, which will be devastated not to earn a famous victory against its powerhouse opponents.
“We didn’t think it was going to be a drama. The team has shown reaction,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after the match.
“It is an important point. We know that by playing like this we will get things done, the players have fought to the end. It’s going to be a difficult year for all of us, but today we have to be proud.”
It had looked as though Real Madrid was heading for yet another loss in this season’s European campaign after it was beaten 3-2 by Shakhtar Donetsk last week.
But the latest result will help paper over the cracks in what’s been an inconsistent start to the season from Zidane’s side.
Madrid has gone from suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of newly promoted Cadiz to beating fierce rivals Barcelona in La Liga this season and it was second best for much of Tuesday’s match.
It wasn’t until Benzema’s overhead finish that any sort of comeback looked likely.
The goal sparked a frantic ending to the game with the hosts hanging on by a thread. Just as it seemed it had done enough to hold on, Casemiro was in the right place at the right time to break German hearts.
Monchengladbach had chances to finish the game with the scores at 2-0, but will be left ruing the spurned opportunities.
Alassane Plea had the best of the chances but his effort was thwarted by Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
“When you concede two late goals and drop the points it is not a good feeling,” said Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose.
“It came down to the quality of Real. We wanted to defend better until the end, but sometimes you need a little bit of luck and we didn’t have that tonight.”