Gladbach Hammer Shakhtar, Atletico Held In Champions League
Alassane Plea scored a hat-trick as Borussia Moenchengladbach romped to a 6-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Lokomotiv Moscow.
As well as Plea’s goals, a Valeriy Bondar own goal and counters from Ramy Bensebaini and captain Lars Stindl gave Gladbach their finest European victory since their 1970s glory days.
After being pegged back to draw 2-2 in their first two outings in Group B, away to Inter Milan and at home to Real Madrid, the victory moves Marco Rose’s Gladbach to the top of the section, one point above Shakhtar.
It is the Ukrainian champion’s worst defeat in a home game in Europe, although they are currently hosting matches in Kiev having been exiled from Donetsk since 2014 when conflict broke out in the east of the country.
French forward Plea met Stefan Lainer’s low cross with a first-time finish to put the visitors in front in the eighth minute before a horror show from Bondar allowed them to double their lead.
First, his miskick gifted the ball to Plea, and then Christoph Kramer’s shot took a huge deflection off the Shakhtar defender on its way in.
Plea’s superb strike into the top-left corner made it 3-0 in the 26th minute, and Algerian defender Bensebaini got the fourth from close range just before the break.
Stindl’s goal to make it 5-0 arrived with 11 minutes left, and there was still time for Plea to make it six after being played in by Marcus Thuram for a goal that was given after a VAR review confirmed he was onside.
The result is a bitter setback for Shakhtar after they began their campaign by beating Real Madrid 3-2 in Spain and then held Inter last week.
Real and Inter meet in Madrid later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Atletico were left frustrated in Moscow as their second-half pressure failed to produce a winner against Lokomotiv in Group A in a rare European game this season to be played before a sizeable crowd.
Atletico beat the Russians home and away in the group stage last season and went ahead in the 18th minute here when Hector Herrera’s cross was headed in by Jose Maria Gimenez.
However, Lokomotiv were given the chance to equalize shortly after when Herrera was penalized for a handball in the box following a VAR review.
Anton Miranchuk converted the spot-kick to get the railway-backed club back on track.
They then soaked up the pressure, as Angel Correa’s long-range shot struck the bar before the interval and Guilherme saved superbly from Joao Felix after the restart.
Substitute Koke also headed against the woodwork for Atletico before Luis Suarez converted the rebound only to be flagged offside.
The result means Lokomotiv have now gone eight Champions League games without winning, and reigning champions Bayern can go five points clear of Atletico at the top of Group A if they beat Salzburg later.