Jude Bellingham, once again, proved decisive for Real Madrid when the England international scored a stoppage-time winner over Union Berlin in their Group C meeting at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Bellingham, who rebuffed the likes of Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs in favour of a move to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, has proved a massive hit with the Spanish club, scoring six goals in as many matches. Indeed, such has been the former Birmingham City midfielder’s impact, those around the club have already stated calling the 20-year-old “el jefe”, or the boss.
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Despite dominating possession, Real Madrid struggled to break down a resilient Union Berlin side who were making their Champions League debut in the home of the 14-time European Cup winners.
Real Madrid forward Joselu was lively from the start but missed two headed opportunities early in the match.
The hosts made a fast start to the second half and Rodrygo twice went close to scoring the opener, having a shot saved by goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow from close range before unleashing a thunderous volley that cannoned off the post.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team continued to turn the screw as the second half wore on with Union Berlin beginning to flag, with the Italian manager bringing on Valverde and Toni Kroos.
Joselu, Antonio Rüdiger and Rodrygo all missed late opportunities to score, but just as Union Berlin appeared set for a surprise result, the resistance of the Bundesliga side was pierced when midfielder Bellingham scored on his Champions League debut for Real Madrid.
While the visitors will be bitterly disappointed to have conceded so deep into stoppage time, they will take heart from their performance and believe they have a real chance to make it out of the group stage.
Union Berlin host Portugal’s Braga next on October 3 while Real Madrid visit Italian champions Napoli.