Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane took responsibility for “a bad night” as the 13-time European Cup winners were handed a humiliating defeat by a second-string Shakhtar Donetsk side.
The Ukrainian champions arrived in Madrid without 13 first-team players after 19 positive Covid-19 tests throughout the club left them needing to call up youth-team players.
But Luis Castro’s young side were undaunted and swept into an amazing, but thoroughly warranted, 3-0 lead at Real’s empty Alfredo di Stefano training ground.
Goals from Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior after the break gave Real hope, but there was no escape for the competition’s most decorated side despite a dramatic finale.
Federico Valverde thought he had hit a stoppage-time leveller but after a check at the pitchside monitor referee Srdjan Jovanovic disallowed the goal for offside.
The defeat follows a shock 1-0 home defeat newly-promoted Cadiz in La Liga on Saturday.
“I did not see the team as I wanted and when you do not see the team as you wanted it is your fault,” Zidane said.
“It’s a bad game, a bad night. I’m the coach and it’s up to me to find the solution.
“We deserve the criticism, all of us, and me first. Luckily we had a reaction in the second half because they don’t deserve that, they are champions and it bothers me.
“I am responsible and I have to look for solutions because that cannot happen.”
Club legend Zidane won the Champions League in each of his first three seasons in charge of Real, but his decision to rest players with next Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona in mind was a rare, and huge, aberration.
Without captain Sergio Ramos – left in the stands with a knee injury – Real’s defence was a mess and could do little to prevent Mateus Tete and Manor Solomon scoring either side of a Raphael Varane own goal.
Tellingly, Real have now lost seven of their last eight Champions League games without Ramos at the heart of their backline.
Former Tottenham midfielder Modric hit a stunning long-range strike to bring a ray of hope and, although Vinicius scored within 15 seconds of coming, on Shakhtar held on for a famous result.
“We have a match every three days. But hey, there is no excuse,” Zidane said.
“These are decisions that I have made and I have to find what will lead us to become strong again and win. And I have few days.”