Ceballos scores late for Real Madrid to beat Union Berlin 3-2 and stay perfect in Champions League

AP , Wednesday 13 Dec 2023

Dani Ceballos scored late for Real Madrid to come from behind to beat Union Berlin 3-2 and complete a perfect Champions League group stage on Tuesday.

Joselu celebrates after scoring twice against Union Berlin. Photo : AP


Ceballos grabbed the winner in the 89th minute, four minutes after Union substitute Alex Král equalized and kept alive Union’s hopes of clinching a Europa League place. The German team had needed a win and a favor from Napoli against Braga in the other group game to clinch a Europa League spot as the third-place finisher in the group.

Instead, Madrid made it six wins from six games in Group C. It’s the third time Madrid achieved the feat after doing so 2011 and 2014.

The 14-time champion was already assured of topping the group, but coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team wanted to show its respect for the competition by naming a strong starting lineup including Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo and Luka Modrić.

They dominated the first half, but Union goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow saved Modrić’s penalty in the 45th, then launched a huge kickout that Kevin Behrens headed on and David Alaba failed to control. Kevin Volland held off Lucas Vázquez’ challenge to give Union an unlikely lead before the break.

Rodrygo crossed from the right for Joselu to equalize in the 61st and Fran García set up Joselu’s second from the other side in the 72nd.

Joselu thought he’d sealed the result, but Madrid needed Ceballos to be sure.

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