By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Real Madrid’s Champions League hopes are hanging in the balance after they lost 2-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, leaving their fate in reaching the knockout stages out of their hands heading into the final round of matches.
The 13-time European champions are third in Group B, with all four sides still able to qualify in next week’s final round of matches. Real must beat leaders Borussia Monchengladbach to guarantee progress.
“We are always going to have difficult moments, and we are on a bad run, but we need to keep going,” added the Frenchman, whose side suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.
“I have the strength needed to turn the situation around and I am going to give everything to do that. So are the players.
“We played well and we deserved more. We just need to lift our heads up and think about the next game.”
It was Real’s second defeat by Shakhtar in this season’s competition, the Ukrainian side winning the reverse fixture 3-2 in Madrid.
Earlier Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter Milan beat Monchengladback 3-2 later on Tuesday to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
The 13-times European Cup winners went behind in the 57th minute when Shakthar substitute Dentinho capitalised on a lapse in concentration from defender Raphael Varane to score.
Israeli forward Manor Solomon then wrapped up the home side’s shock win over the Spanish champions in the 82nd with a solo run on the counter and finish into the bottom corner.
Dentinho came on in the first half to replace striker Junior Moraes, who was injured after being hauled down by Varane in a bid to prevent the forward racing towards goal unchallenged.
Shakhtar, who beat Madrid 3-2 away in October, are second in Group B on seven points, level with Zinedine Zidane’s Real side but ahead due to their superior head-to-head record.