MADRID – Real Madrid stumbled through most of its Champions League contest on Tuesday against Borussia Mönchengladbach, but the 13-time champion managed to score two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw.
After scarcely producing any scoring opportunities for much of that Group B contest at Borussia-Park, the LaLiga giants’ level improved when Eden Hazard and Luka Modric were inserted as substitutes with about 20 minutes remaining in regulation time.
Facing the prospect of two losses to start their 2020-2021 campaign (and four consecutive defeats dating back to last season), Karim Benzema pulled one back for the Blancos in the 87th minute when he sized up a bouncing header from Casemiro and slotted the ball into the top part of the goal.
Casemiro then notched the equalizer in stoppage time when he received a header from Sergio Ramos and half-volleyed a shot past goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
It was a bitter end for Borussia Mönchengladbach after it had taken a 2-0 lead on the strength of a brace by Marcus Thuram, who scored on a cross from Alassane Plea in the 33rd minute and then made the score 2-0 when he tapped the ball home after a save by Real Madrid goalie Thibaut Courtois in the 58th minute.
Real Madrid is still at the bottom of its group with just one point, but trails surprise leader Shakhtar Donetsk by just three points.
That Ukrainian side followed up its shock upset of Real Madrid last week by playing Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.
In Group A action, Atletico Madrid rallied for a 3-2 win over Red Bull Salzburg thanks to a brace by Joao Felix, who scored the equalizer off an assist from Angel Correa in the 52nd minute and then notched the winner when he skillfully controlled a pass from Thomas Lemar and booted a shot just inside the near post past goalie Cican Stankovic.
The come-from-behind victory was a big relief for Diego Simeone’s men after the 4-0 shellacking they suffered last week at the hands of defending champion Bayern Munich.
The Bavarians were less dominant on Tuesday versus Lokomotiv Moscow, but they managed to pull out a 2-1 away victory thanks to a long-range volley by Joshua Kimmich that sneaked inside the far post in the 79th minute.
With its 13th consecutive Champions League win, Bayern now leads Group A with six points, three ahead of second-place Atletico.
In Group C, Manchester City is also perfect after two games following its 3-0 rout of Marseille on Tuesday at Stade Velodrome.
The Citizens were dominant throughout the contest and got a goal apiece from Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.
In Tuesday’s other Group C contest, Porto bounced back from a loss to Man City last week by topping Olympiacos 2-0 at home; Fabio Vieira and Sergio Oliveira scored for the Portuguese club.
In Group D, Liverpool outclassed Cinderella Danish side Midtjylland at Anfield, although that domination wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard until Diogo Jota gave the Reds the lead in the 55th minute. Mohamed Salah later added a second goal on a penalty conversion in second-half stoppage time to give his side a 2-0 victory.
Serie A club Atalanta, meanwhile, ceded the top spot in Group D to Liverpool after settling for a 2-2 draw against Ajax.
It could have been worse for the host Italian side, which rallied thanks to Colombian striker Duvan Zapata’s second-half brace.