BERLIN • Coach Zinedine Zidane insisted that Real Madrid deserved a point after Casemiro scored a last-gasp equaliser, as the Spanish giants fought back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday to avoid a fourth straight Champions League defeat.
Marcus Thuram’s double put Gladbach on course for a famous victory until Real roared back with late efforts from Karim Benzema and the Brazilian – three minutes into added time – to salvage a point.
While Real remain at the bottom of Group B owing to their shock 3-2 home defeat by a depleted Shakhtar Donetsk side, they at least put a stop to their worst run in the Champions League since 1986.
“For me, 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.”
Shakhtar sit two points clear at the top of the table after a goal-less home draw with Inter Milan in Tuesday’s earlier Group B encounter.
Despite having more than 60 percent possession, Real rarely troubled Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer until the frantic final scenes.
“Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and we should have known they’d throw everything at us,” said Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian. “We have to learn from this experience.”
The French striker nearly ensured what would have been a memorable maiden win over the La Liga champions, showing that despite their morale-boosting Clasico win over Barcelona last weekend, Real’s defence remains vulnerable.
They have now kept clean sheets in just two of their last 13 Champions League games and if not for Thibaut Courtois’ save, Alassane Plea could have put the game to bed after being put through on goal.
The 13-time European Cup winners were reeling until Zidane threw on Luka Modric and Eden Hazard, who was making his first appearance this season owing to injury, for the final 20 minutes in an attempt to avoid another damaging defeat.
They started to attack in droves, with Casemiro creating their the first goal before netting the equaliser as the hosts rued their inability to hang on.
“When you concede two late goals and drop the points, it’s not a good feeling,” admitted Gladbach 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.”
Goals conceded by Real Madrid in their last four games in all competitions.