Real Madrid battled back from 2-0 down to draw with Club Bruges on another disappointing Champions League night for the 13-time champions.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were poor again at the Bernabeu and were almost undone by two bizarre goals from 21-year-old Emmanuel Dennis.
The Nigerian’s first came as he miscontrolled Percy Tau’s cross past a wrongfooted Thibaut Courtois and into the net – initially disallowed for offside but awarded after a long video assistant referee delay.
For the second, Dennis stumbled into the box and chipped Courtois – who was replaced by Alphonse Areola at half-time – despite almost losing his footing.
Captain Sergio Ramos responded for Real in the second half with a header from Karim Benzema’s cross, which was ruled out for offside but overturned by the VAR.
After Bruges captain Ruud Vormer was sent off for two bookings, Toni Kroos crossed for Casemiro to head in the equaliser from the resulting free-kick.
Real – beaten 3-0 by Paris St-Germain in their opening game – remain bottom of Group A.
Zidane loses Champions League spark
Zidane’s first spell as Real Madrid boss was the stuff of legend. They won three consecutive Champions League titles in his two and a half years in charge and he left on the ultimate high.
But less than 12 months later he was back, replacing Santiago Solari after their sensational 4-1 Bernabeu defeat by Ajax in the last 16.
The comeback against Bruges ensured it was not a third consecutive Champions League defeat and a third European home loss in a row.
They have conceded two or more goals by half-time in their past three home Champions League games. They had done that twice in their previous 124.
La Liga leaders Real created plenty of chances but fluffed their lines.
Bruges, who are top of the Belgian league, looked in control after Dennis’ goals – especially his first, when he tried to control a cross but somehow kicked the ball off his other leg and into the net.
It could have been game over if a 54th-minute chance for a hat-trick was not well saved by Areola, before Real battled back through Ramos and Casemiro.
Captain Ramos was playing as a centre forward at the end as they looked for a winner, but Bruges’ stoppage-time substitute Siebe Schrijvers wasted a glorious chance when he screwed wide with his only touch.
Despite the hosts’ comeback, Bruges celebrated a famous point at the final whistle while Real looked dejected.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane: “The two goals that they scored were a joke – that’s all I can say on that.
“What happened in the first half can happen to you. We looked to take the three points from start to finish and that was impossible in the first half. We won the second half 2-0 and we end up taking a point.
“I’m not worried. We know we have to make and finish chances because in the first 10 minutes. If we had been a little more clinical, we could have had the opening goal.
“We need to do that at home – go to kill the game from minute one and push our rivals.
“I don’t want to speak ill of a rival, but if we pressed like we did in the second half, they would have had no chance.”
Match stats – Real match 2006 Kiev comeback
- Real Madrid have gone at least two goals behind in a Champions League match without losing the game for the first time since December 2006 against Dynamo Kiev (2-2).
- Club Bruges are unbeaten in six Champions League matches (W1 D5), having lost eight in a row before this run.
- Bruges’ opening goal was their earliest in a Champions League game at eight minutes nine seconds.
- Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos has scored in 10 different seasons in the Champions League, becoming the second defender to do so after Gerard Pique.
- Aged 21 years and 320 days, Emmanuel Dennis became the third youngest player to score at least twice in a single game against Real Madrid in the Champions League, after Alexandre Pato in 2009-10 (20y 49d) and Dele Alli in 2017-18 (21y 204d).
- Dennis became the third Nigerian to score against Real Madrid in the Champions League, after James Obiorah for Lokomotiv Moscow in 2002-03 and Ayila Yussuf for Dynamo Kiev in 2004-05