Football

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane: We showed character in fightback

Frenchman convinced bottom side Madrid can do well after Gladbach draw

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted his side deserved a point after the Spanish giants fought back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Marcus Thuram's double put Gladbach on course for a famous victory until Real roared back with late efforts from Karim Benzema and Casemiro - three minutes into added time - to salvage a point and avoid a fourth straight Champions League defeat.

But Real remain at the bottom of Group B after their shock 3-2 home defeat by a depleted Shakhtar Donetsk side in last week's opener. Real also lost both legs of last season's Round-of-16 tie at the hands of Manchester City.

"This draw is not a relief, it's a deserved result," said Zidane.

"We had an opponent who had us in trouble on two or three occasions, but we didn't panic and came back with character.

"If we continue to play like that, we'll do great things and we'll win matches - that's for sure."

Despite having more than 60 per cent possession, Real rarely troubled Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer until the frantic final scenes.

"Real are one of the best teams in the world and we should have known they'd throw everything at us. We have to learn from this experience," said Thuram.

Benzema had two early half-chances at Borussia Park, before Gladbach struck in style just after the half-hour mark.

Gladbach midfielder Jonas Hofmann profited from a bad pass from Toni Kroos and fed Alassane Plea, whose pin-point low pass to Thuram was buried into the back of the net.

Real have now kept clean sheets in just two of their last 13 Champions League games.

Thuram, the son of French 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, pounced to score his second in the 58th minute.

When Plea's fierce shot was saved by Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Thuram was on hand to tap home the rebound from close range and leave the 13-time European champions reeling.

Zidane threw on Luka Modric and Eden Hazard for the final 20 minutes in an attempt to avoid a damaging defeat.

With three minutes left, Casemiro headed the ball back into play from a deep cross and Benzema diverted the ball in from point-blank range.

Boosted by the goal, Real attacked in waves and, in the third minute of injury time, Modric clipped a cross to the far post for Casemiro to drive the ball into the roof of the net.

DRAMA

"We didn't think this would be such a drama," Zidane said.

"But my team showed that they know how to react. We always play to win and show the hunger to win. No way were we happy with the draw."

His opposite number, Gladbach coach Marco Rose, rued the result which was their second draw of their Champions League campaign and also their second time conceding a late equaliser after taking a 2-1 lead against Inter Milan.

"When you concede two late goals and drop the points, it's not a good feeling," admitted 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."

Shakhtar sit two points clear at the top of the table after a goalless draw with Inter in Group B's other encounter in Kiev yesterday. - AFP, REUTERS

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