Real Madrid maintained their perfect record in the Champions’ League group stage by defeating Union Berlin 3-2 in a thrilling encounter on Tuesday. The Spanish giants came from behind to secure the victory, with Dani Ceballos scoring a late winner in the 89th minute. This win marked Real Madrid’s sixth consecutive victory in Group C, finishing with a flawless record of six wins in as many matches.
Union Berlin initially took the lead in the first half, with Kevin Volland scoring after Real Madrid’s Luka Modric had a penalty saved by Union goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow. However, Joselu turned the game around in the second half with an 11-minute brace, putting Real Madrid in the lead. Alex Kral’s late goal for Union Berlin leveled the score at 2-2, but Ceballos secured the victory for Real Madrid with his late, deflected shot.
The win propelled Real Madrid to 18 points in Group C, while Napoli finished in second place with 10 points. Braga ended third with four points, and Union Berlin concluded their European campaign in last place with two points.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti emphasized the importance of every game and praised the team’s commitment, while Union Berlin’s coach Nenad Bjelica acknowledged the quality of Real Madrid’s players, especially singling out Luka Modric as one of the best in the world.
This victory marked Real Madrid’s third time achieving a perfect group stage record, having previously done so in 2011 and 2014. The loss for Union Berlin meant the end of their debut Champions League campaign, finishing with two draws and four defeats. The dramatic encounter saw Union Berlin needing a win to keep their Europa League hopes alive, but Real Madrid’s resilience and late heroics secured their dominance in Group C.
Napoli Secures Champions League Last 16 Spot with Convincing 2-0 Win Over Braga
Napoli displayed a commanding performance on Tuesday, securing their passage to the Champions League knockout stages with a resounding 2-0 victory over Braga. The Italian side, eager to break a home winless streak extending over two months, finished second in Group C, eight points behind group leaders Real Madrid, accumulating a total of 10 points. Despite finishing third, Braga secured Europa League football with four points, while Union Berlin, who lost 3-2 to Real Madrid, ended the group stage at the bottom with two points.
The Partenopei’s qualification was marked by a ninth-minute clumsy own goal from Braga’s Serdar Saatci, who inadvertently turned Matteo Politano’s cross into his own net. This early setback was compounded when Napoli’s Victor Osimhen showcased his attacking prowess in the 33rd minute, cleverly back-heeling a cross from Natan to double the lead. Osimhen’s goal, his first in the Champions League this season, not only secured Napoli’s progression but also ended their six-match winless run at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri, who had emphasized the need for defensive solidity, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance. He highlighted Napoli’s resilience and balance, especially in a match where they could have qualified even with a single-goal defeat.
The win serves as a significant confidence boost for Napoli, who had endured three consecutive defeats under Mazzarri since he replaced Rudi Garcia last month. The Italian champions demonstrated both composure and determination in a crucial match, securing their place in the last 16 of the competition. Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo praised the team’s deserving qualification, emphasizing the importance of their consistent performances throughout the group stage.