If Real Madrid is to win a 14th European Cup title then Zinedine Zidane’s team is going about it the hard way.
Humiliated by Paris Saint-Germain in its opening Group A game — the Parisians won 3-0 — Real had to come from two goals behind against Club Brugge, a team the La Liga club had been comfortably expected to beat on Tuesday.
Real Madrid’s defensive frailties were brutally exposed by Brugge in an absorbing first half as Emmanuel Dennis scored twice in the opening 45 minutes to stun the 13-time European Cup winners.
True, there was an element of luck in both his goals, but the Club Brugge forward deserved his good fortune for a buccaneering performance, with his pace constantly troubling Real.
For his first goal, Dennis got his feet tangled up but his miskick still went past Real keeper Thibaut Courtois as Brugge took an early lead. There was a delay before the goal was awarded as VAR checked for offside.
Dennis tthen stumbled as he raced clear after capitalizing on Luka Modric’s mistake, but the 21-year-old striker steadied himself before clipping the ball past Courtois.
Real’s Belgian keeper was substituted at half-time and his replacement Alphonse Areola brilliantly denied Dennis a hat-trick as the Brugge striker once more ran clear.
Soon after Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos gave the home team hope of turning the game round when he headed past Simon Mignolet, with the goal also subjected to a VAR review.
Ramos’ goal prompted wave after wave of Real attacks and with six minutes to go Brugge went down to 10 men after Ruud Vormer was sent off after picking two yellow cards.
Real had Casemiro to thank after the Brazilian guided a header past Mignolet as Real pulled level, but the Brugge held on for a deserved draw.