By Richard Martin
Madrid: Shakhtar Donetsk pulled off a shock 3-2 win away to 13-time winners Real Madrid in their Champions League Group B opener on Wednesday, despite the Ukrainian side missing 10 players due to injuries and COVID-19.
Shakhtar raced into a 3-0 lead after a whirlwind first half with a strike from Brazilian midfielder Tete in the 29th minute, an own goal from Madrid defender Raphael Varane four minutes later and a well-taken effort from Israeli forward Manor Solomon.
Luka Modric pulled one back for Zinedine Zidane's shellshocked side with a brilliant strike from distance early in the second half before substitute Vinicius jnr reduced the deficit to one goal.
Federico Valverde thought he had equalised in added time with a heavily deflected shot but the goal was ruled out for offside as Vinicius was blocking the vision of goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin and the depleted visitors celebrated one of their most memorable victories in European competition.
La Liga champions Madrid, meanwhile, reflected on a second consecutive home defeat after losing 1-0 at their Alfredo di Stefano stadium to promoted Cadiz on Saturday, further denting their confidence ahead of the 'Clasico' at Barcelona in three days.
"In the first half we were not worthy of this competition," said Madrid midfielder Modric.
"It's obvious we need to improve, we lacked confidence today, especially in the first half, but we have to move on, we can't waste any time regretting what has happened."
The sentiments were echoed by Zidane.
"We were lacking a bit of everything today but worst of all we were lacking confidence," the Frenchman told a news conference.
"It's difficult to think of what to say when you concede three goals in the first half. We made a mistake with their first goal and from then on it was very difficult.
"I'm left with a very bad feeling because of everything that happened tonight. It's a bad game, a bad night but I'm the coach and I'm the one who has to find solutions. I didn't find them tonight and it's a very difficult moment for the players."
Socceroos winger Awer Mabil endured a tough debut on Europe's biggest stage as his Danish club FC Midtjylland were trounced 4-0 by Atalanta at home.
Atalanta's first three goals came inside the first half, before substitute Aleksei Miranchuk iced the result in the dying minutes on debut for the Italians with a terrific curled effort from the edge of the box.
Mabil struggled to get into the game and was withdrawn in the 76th minute. The former Adelaide United star had hopes that minnows Midtjylland could find a way through Group D but this was one of their most winnable games on paper and the margin of defeat leaves them with a fair mountain to climb.
Winger Kingsley Coman scored twice and set up another goal as holders Bayern Munich crushed Atletico Madrid 4-0 in the Champions League Group A opener on Wednesday to stretch their winning run in the competition to 12 games.
The France international put the hosts ahead with a fine effort in the 28th minute and then set up Leon Goretzka to fire in their second in the 41st.
Fellow France international Corentin Tolisso killed off any Spanish hopes of a comeback with a sensational shot in the 66th minute before Coman twice shook off defender Felipe to bag his second goal of the evening six minutes later.
Bayern, who had won all 11 of their games en route to the Champions League title last season, are top on three points in group, with Lokomotiv Moscow and Salzburg on one point following their 2-2 draw.
Elsewhere, a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal proved the difference as Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam.
Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach drew 2-2 while Olympiacos and Manchester City both banked first-up wins.
Reuters with Vince Rugari