Real Madrid collected their first Champions League victory of the season at Galatasaray to ease the pressure on manager Zinedine Zidane.
The La Liga side suffered a shock league defeat against Mallorca at the weekend and had failed to win their opening two group games, with reports in Spain
Real’s summer signings failing to fire
Real were bottom of the group after suffering a heavy 3-0 loss at PSG and being held to a home draw by Club Bruges and there was talk that another defeat could signal the end of Zidane’s second spell in charge at the Bernabeu.
The Spanish side are second in the league, one point behind Barcelona, but the major signings have yet to get going, putting Zidane’s job under scrutiny.
Having spent almost £300m on a major squad rebuild, Brazil teenager Rodrygo – a £40m acquisition from Santos – was handed his competition debut and £150m forward Hazard was the only other player brought in during the summer to make the starting line-up.
Belgium international Hazard still looks rusty after an injury-hit start to his Real career and this was epitomised by missing a second-half sitter. He also struck two powerful efforts straight at goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Luka Jovic, a £53m signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, was given eight minutes as a substitute and is yet to score for Real, while defender £43m former Porto defender Eder Militao remained on the bench once again.
Striker Karim Benzema flashed a shot narrowly over and saw a rising strike pushed out by Muslera with the busy Uruguayan making a total of 12 saves in the contest.
Galatasaray, meanwhile, are currently sixth in the league, four points adrift of surprise leaders Alanyaspor, and continued their dreadful Champions League run, now winning just two of their last 23 games in the competition.
They should have claimed at least a point from this game but could not find a way past ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois, who dived low to his left to keep out Younes Belhanda’s first-time strike.
Gala’s rotten run – the stats
- Real Madrid have ended a run of three Champions League games without a win (D1 L2).
- Galatasaray have failed to win any of their last eight Champions League games (D2 L6), failing to score in seven of those eight games.
- Real scored in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time in seven games, since scoring four first-half goals against Viktoria Plzen in November 2018.
- This was Real’s first clean sheet in the competition since a 2-0 away win against Roma in November 2018, having conceded 13 goals in their five previous such games.
- Galatasaray faced 27 shots in this game, the most they have faced in a Champions League game since 2003.
- Real’s Toni Kroos has scored on his 100th appearance in the Champions League. He is the fifth player to do so in the competition, after Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.