It was not the dream comeback to Kiev as Real Madrid CF returned to the stadium where they won their 13th UEFA Champions League crown back in 2018. This time around, they are facing the possibility of an early exit from the competition after losing 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage of the current season.

Real Madrid's hopes of advancing into the last 16 have grown slim and pressure is mounting on manager Zinedine Zidane, who travelled with the team to Ukraine after having just lost a domestic league match.

Over the weekend, Real Madrid lost to Alaves 2-1 at home in La Liga. The mid-week Champions League loss has now put the club in third place in Group B. Nevertheless, after managing to secure 7 points so far, they are only just one point behind group leaders Borussia Monchengladbach. Shakhtar sits in second place also with 7 points, but with a superior head-to-head record against the Spanish champions.

All is not lost but Zidane knows that Real Madrid must beat Borussia Monchengladbach in their final group stage match to move into the next round.

"I am not going to resign, not at all. We are always going to have difficult moments, and we are on a bad run, but we need to keep going," said Zidane, in a post-match interview quoted by the BBC. "I have the strength needed to turn the situation around and I am going to give everything to do that. So are the players," he added.

Real Madrid travelled to Kiev without captain Sergio Ramos, who is always an inspiring figure on the pitch. Belgian forward Eden Hazard also suffered yet another injury, which has him sidelined for the eighth time since joining the club.

Raphael Varane is in hot water once again after a defensive error resulted in Shakhtar's first goal care of Dentinho. With momentum on their side, Shakhtar kept pressing and allowed Solomon to find the bottom of the net again with eight minutes remaining.

Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku scored twice for Inter Milan against Monchengladbach. Their 3-2 victory over the Germans has now kept Group B wide open.

Real Madrid will be looking to extend their record to 24 consecutive qualifications into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. A lot, maybe even Zidane's job, depends on the result of their match against Borussia Monchengladbach next Wednesday.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane has seen his Real Madrid side lose twice to Shakhtar Donetsk in this season's Champions League AFP / Sergei SUPINSKY