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Late equalisers cast shadow on Gladbach's fine European start

BERLIN: Borussia Moenchengladbach's fine start in the Champions League campaign has been marred by late equalisers conceded against Inter Milan and Real Madrid, making their two group stage draws feel more like defeats.

Coming away with a point in Italy and another against the 13-time European champions is no doubt a major accomplishment for the German team, relatively inexperienced at this level.

But Gladbach's coach Marco Rose's players let in a 90th minute goal in last week's 2-2 at Inter and on Tuesday conceded two goals in the final minutes to settle for another 2-2 draw against the Spanish giants.

"This game feels like a defeat," said captain Lars Stindl, summing up the mood after Tuesday's draw.

"We played a superb game and delivered a tough fight. When you lead at home 2-0 against Real Madrid shortly before the end then you obviously want to win it."

Gladbach were brutally efficient with just over 35 percent possession, scoring twice with Marcus Thuram and displaying a maturity in defence that gave the Spaniards only a handful of chances.

An 87th minute Karim Benzema goal and a stoppage time equaliser from Casemiro, however, brought back bad memories from Gladbach's visit to Italy a week earlier when Romelu Lukaku grabbed a 90th minute equaliser for Inter.

"We wanted to deliver performances and battle for results," Rose said. "We could now have had six points or four because twice we let in late equalisers."

Instead Shakhtar Donetsk top a tough Group B with four points, while Gladbach lie in second place, level with Inter on two points, and Real sit bottom with one point.

"The group is relatively tight. In both group games we have shown what we are capable of. We are not just here to take part," Rose said.

"I cannot accuse the team of anything. What is important now is to manage to get something positive out of this situation and draw energy for the rest of the group stage."

Gladbach have little time to lick their wounds ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga clash with leaders RB Leipzig and a trip to Shakhtar in the Champions League next week.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: Reuters


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