Shakhtar Donetsk 0-5 Real Madrid: Vinicius stars with a brace | UCL 2021-22

Vinicius Junior-Real Madrid

Real Madrid enjoyed a memorable night in the Champions League on Tuesday as they defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 to return to the top of their UCL group.

A brace from Vinicius junior, Rodrygo and Karim Benzema secured Madrid the win and, in the process, ended a three-game winless run for the Spanish giants. 

Carlo Ancelotti’s men came into the tie hoping to get back to winning ways after losing their previous two matches. The record Champions League holders were expected to make a statement, and it did not take long before they proved that they meant business, with Vinicius Junior testing Anatolii Trubin in the Shakhtar goal early in the seventh minute.

Despite the host’s best effort to play, the visitors continued to boss the game and were ahead in the 37th minute through a comical own-goal by Sergiy Kryvtsov.

After the break, Madrid doubled their lead through Vinicius Junior, who chipped the ball over the keeper after being set up by a Luka Modric through ball. Five minutes after scoring the first goal, the Brazilian added to his tally for the evening with a fine individual goal.

The youngster turned provider in the 64th minute, setting up Rodrygo with an excellent cross to score Madrid’s fourth goal of the evening. 

Benzema wrapped up the route in the first minute of added time as Madrid held on to secure a memorable win.

Madrid is back to winning ways

Few expected Real Madrid to lose this game anyway, but the manner in which they won it would have been pleasant for their fans, who had watched in agony as their side were beaten by two smaller teams recently.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men outplayed their visitors and could have ended the match with more goals than they got had they been more clinical. 

The Spanish side ended the game with ten shots on target and 57% of the ball. They would also be happy with their defensive showing, which saw them record their second clean sheet in the last six games. 

The big result also secured them at the top of the table as they are now ahead of Sheriff with a richer goal difference. 

Return of injured players help Madrid 

After a miserable few weeks of a lot of injuries, Carlo Ancelotti would be happy with the way things turned out, but especially with the return of key players.

Just a few weeks, the likes of Marcelo, Ferland Mendy and Casimiro were missing due to varying injuries. 

But on Tuesday two out of three aforementioned names started while the third member, Marcelo also came off the bench in the dying stage of the game to make his 100th Champions League appearance. 

With the return of his trusted lieutenants, Ancelotti will look to build on this win and pick up as many points as possible in the next few weeks.

Shakhtar heading out already

The handwriting is already written on the wall for Shakhtar—they are heading out of the Champions League, and possibly out of European competition altogether.

The Ukrainian side were expected to at least finish third in the group behind Real Madrid and Inter Milan. But three games into the group stages, they are sitting bottom with one point and a goal difference of -7. They are yet to score a goal in the UCL group stage this season and are looking like a team not sure of what they are doing in the competition. 

With Sheriff putting up a good fight in this group, it will be difficult for Roberto De Zerbi’s side to even finish third and qualify for the Europa League, unless they improve speedily and drastically. We will have to find out next week when they travel to Spain to face Madrid again.