MADRID: Sergio Ramos and Casemiro scored to rescue Real Madrid as the 13-times winners scrambled their way back from two goals down to avoid a hugely embarrassing defeat to Club Bruges and draw 2-2 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Trailing to a first-half double from Emmanuel Bonaventure, Real got back in the match in the 54th minute with a towering header from captain Ramos and Casemiro finally levelled with five minutes remaining with another headed goal.
Real, who were beaten 3-0 at Paris St Germain two weeks ago, are bottom of Group A with one point after two games, while Bruges are second with have two. PSG are top with six after beating third-placed Galatasaray 1-0.
Nigerian forward Bonaventure stunned the Santiago Bernabeu by giving the Belgians the lead in the ninth minute, mis-controlling the ball and nudging it towards goal but somehow still beating Real keeper Thibaut Courtois to score.
Bonaventure struck again with another scrappy goal in the 39th minute, helped by a calamitous giveaway in midfield by 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric.
The forward lost his footing as he bore down on Courtois but still produced a stunning finish to lift the ball high into the net. The goal was initially ruled offside, then awarded after a VAR review.
Real’s triple Champions League-winning coach Zinedine Zidane made a double change at halftime, bringing on goalkeeper Alphonse Areola for Courtois, who he later said was feeling ill, and replacing Nacho, who was injured, with Marcelo.
Real later said Nacho had damaged ligaments in his right knee, with media reports saying the versatile Spaniard would be out for around 10 weeks.
Zidane was fiercely critical of his side for their first-half display but was happy with how they responded.
“It was a bad result but the reaction was good,” he told a news conference.
“We cannot be happy because we have never played as bad as we did in the opening 45 minutes. I’m pleased with how we reacted but not for only getting a point.
“The first goal we conceded was laughable. We started badly and we were not focussed in the areas of the pitch where the opponent could cause us the most harm.”
Real came back out after the interval with real intent but were almost punished a third time on the counterattack when Bonaventure raced down the left wing alone but was thwarted by Areola.
The home side finally got a goal back from Ramos, who returned from suspension after missing Real’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Paris St Germain in their Group A opener.
Bruges’ nerves began to set in and Eden Hazard, Modric and Lucas Vazquez all missed the target for Real, while visiting captain Ruud Vormer was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in the space of six minutes.
Casemiro equalised for Real in the 85th minute with a header from a free kick awarded for Vormer’s second foul, while both sides missed chances to find a winner in the closing stages of a gripping game.