Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin: Blancos saved by the Bellingham once again

BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 12: Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid reacts during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de San Mames on August 12, 2023 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham struck in the final moments to thrust Real Madrid to a 1-0 win over Union Berlin in this UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage curtain raiser, climaxing an eighth consecutive UCL home match unbeaten for Los Blancos in dramatic fashion, reports.

After playing in Europe’s other two club competitions in consecutive seasons, Union were met at the continent’s top table by its most successful club.

There was still some early encouragement for Die Eisernen, as Kevin Behrens got ahead of Antonio Rüdiger to reach Sheraldo Becker’s cross, but his effort was blocked by the centre-back.

In response, Real Madrid quickly offered a warning in the form of two headers from Joselu.

That flurry of action was followed by a period of calm throughout the rest of the first half, in which Los Blancos moved the ball comfortably without convincingly breaching Urs Fischer’s organised defensive structure.

That itself was being orchestrated by Union’s experienced UCL veteran and club debutant Leonardo Bonucci. And the intensity picked up after the restart, as was encapsulated by Rodrygo, who fired straight at Frederik Rønnow from a tight angle, before crashing a volley against the woodwork moments later.

Joselu’s frustrations in front of goal also continued, with Rønnow parrying his instinctive strike to be dealt with by Bonucci then tipping the striker’s header onto the post.

Die Eisernen had an opportunity of their own that was wasted by Becker, who overhit his cross for Brenden Aaronson, before Luka Modrić soon saw an ambitious strike tipped over at the other end. Rodrygo was then unable to get a convincing touch on Lucas Vázquez’s cross, after it had narrowly evaded Bonucci.

It looked like it wouldn’t be Los Blancos’ day, but Bellingham was on hand to score his sixth goal for the club and rescue a victory when Federico Valverde’s shot pinballed across the box.

That ensures Real Madrid remain perfect in all competitions this term, although their attempt to win Europe’s premier competition for the 15th time got off to an unconvincing start, despite the late drama. Union, meanwhile, cruelly suffered their third consecutive defeat in all competitions.


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