Union Berlin 2-3 Real Madrid: Dani Ceballos' late strike helps Carlo Ancelotti's claim a dramatic victory as Joselu scores twice to see Galacticos stay unbeaten in the Champions League
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Union Berlin 2-3 Real Madrid: Dani Ceballos' late strike helps Carlo Ancelotti's claim a dramatic victory as Joselu scores twice to see Galacticos stay unbeaten in the Champions League

Jan 4, 2024
  • Real Madrid are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League 
  • They came back to defeat Union Berlin on Tuesday to go unbeaten in their group 
  • On a packed train, how DO you ask a celebrity to move from a seat you have reserved? It’s All Kicking Off

Veteran striker Joselu headed Union Berlin out of Europe with two second-half goals for Real Madrid.

Roared on by supporters desperate for their first ever taste of Champions League to end on a high with Europa League qualification, they were exactly where they wanted to be at half time – one-nil up against Carlo Ancelotti’s team and with Braga losing in Naples.

But the former Stoke and Newcastle striker, who is enjoying a wonderful swansong at the club where he started his career, grabbed a brace to kill the dream. There was some false hope when Alex Kral levelled late on but Dani Ceballos got Madrid’s winner from a Jude Bellingham assist.

Joselu leapt high for his first goal, and stooped to nod in the second. Madrid needed him to save them after an accident-prone first half when Luka Modric became the fourth Madrid player to miss a penalty this season, and a comedy of errors at the back starring Nacho and David Alaba gave the home team the lead.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was back in goal and after just 50 seconds he saved Madrid from going behind. Luka Modric had skewed a clearance and from Kevin Behrens’ volley the Chelsea loanee keeper saved at point-blank range.

Dani Ceballos scored in the dying embers of the game to seal a 3-2 victory against Union Berlin

Dani Ceballos scored in the dying embers of the game to seal a 3-2 victory against Union Berlin

It came after Joselu scored twice in the match to help Carlo Ancelotti's side bounce back after going a goal  down

It came after Joselu scored twice in the match to help Carlo Ancelotti’s side bounce back after going a goal  down 

Germany striker Kevin Volland scored first for Union Berlin just before half-time

Germany striker Kevin Volland scored first for Union Berlin just before half-time 

Madrid finally got into their stride and on 10 minutes Bellingham’s shot from Lucas Vazquez’ assist but Frederik Ronnow saved. He had a second chance within a minute but shot wide from Fran Garcia’s cross.

Union Berlin were almost behind again when from another Fran Garcia cross, Joselu headed over. Madrid had a set-piece chance when Rani Khedira, the brother of former Madrid midfielder Sami, chopped down Dani Ceballos but Fede Valverde curled the corner wide.

Bellingham was booked before half time which leaves him just one more yellow from a suspension. Nacho trod on Jerome Roussillon and referee Rade Obrenovic let play continue much to the annoyance of Union Berlin. When the ball finally went out of play tempers boiled over and Bellingham followed Khedira into the book for a push. Nacho escaped without so much as a caution.

Madrid were then awarded a penalty when Diogo Leite left a hand dangling and made contact with Lucas’ cross. Modric wanted to take the penalty but his tame effort straight down the middle was saved.

Alex Kral levelled to make it 2-2 after Joselu's brace, but Madrid scored in the dying embers of the match to steal the victory

Alex Kral levelled to make it 2-2 after Joselu’s brace, but Madrid scored in the dying embers of the match to steal the victory

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They will now advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League having gone unbeaten in Group C

They will now advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League having gone unbeaten in Group C

Union fans were shunted straight to the other end of the scale of emotions just moments later when having seen their team not go behind from the spot they went ahead with the last attack of the half.

Frederik Ronnow punted long down the pitch and when Nacho missed his header and David Alaba’s bizarre attempt at a clearance sent the ball further goalwards Kevin Volland muscled past Lucas and beat Kepa.

With Napoli now 2-0 up Union were on course to finish third. Could they hold on? Rodrygo should have scored just 10 minutes in but from Bellingham’s glorious assist he failed the ball down and past Ronnow and the keeper batted it away. He made up for the miss with the cross for the goal. Joselu got on the end of it to head in the equalizer.

When he then headed in Fran Garcia’s cross to make it 2-1 it looked all over for Union but their supporters didn’t stop believing and when substitute Kral scored past Kepa after Madrid missed various opportunities to clear the ball the gates of the Europa League opened a fraction one more time. The hope lasted for as long as it took for Bellingham to attack down the left and cross to Dani Ceballos who scored to make it 3-2.



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