Andriy Lunin saved an early penalty after being a last-minute replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Real Madrid went on to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 27th straight season by beating Braga 3-0 on Wednesday.
Brahim Díaz, Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo scored to give Madrid its fourth win from four matches in Group C. Madrid moved five points clear of Napoli, which drew 1-1 with last-place Union Berlin at home in the other group match. Braga stayed third with three points, still in contention for a spot in the knockout rounds.
The Portuguese club has never advanced past the group stage. It is making its third Champions League appearance, and first in 11 seasons.
Madrid got the win despite playing without Jude Bellingham, who stayed on the bench after nursing a shoulder injury this week.
Kepa missed the game after sustaining an injury during warmups and had to be replaced by Lunin, who dived to his right to make the save on the penalty taken by Álvaro Djaló six minutes into the match with the game tied 0-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Lunin also made a great save off a header in stoppage time.
“It shows the strength of our squad,” Rodrygo said. “Lunin is always training and doing well, and now he got to play and stopped a penalty and made a big save at the end.”
Kepa, who reportedly had a leg muscle injury, was signed on loan from Chelsea this season to take the starting role of Thibaut Courtois, who will miss a big part of the season because of a knee injury.
Madrid was in control after the saved penalty. Díaz opened the scoring after an assist by Rodrygo in the 27th, Vinícius added to the lead following a clever move inside the area in the 58th, and Rodrygo sealed the scoring in the 61st with a lobbed shot over the goalkeeper after a pass by Vinícius.
Both of Braga’s previous campaigns ended in the group stage. It started this year’s campaign in the third qualifying round.
Union Berlin ends 12-match losing streak with 1-1 draw
Union Berlin’s incredible losing streak ended in an unlikely place as it rescued a 1-1 draw at Serie A champion Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Matteo Politano gave Napoli the lead in the 39th minute but David Datro Fofana, who is on loan from Chelsea, leveled seven minutes after the break with his first goal in almost a year to prevent Union from falling to a 13th straight loss in all competitions.
Napoli remained second in Group C.
Napoli was still without standout forward Victor Osimhen but had won three of its four matches since he got injured.
Napoli scored six minutes from halftime in somewhat fortunate circumstances as Mário Rui’s cross took a deflection off a Union player and hit Politano’s face to ricochet in from close range.
Union almost levelled with the last kick of the half, seven minutes into stoppage time, but Josip Juranović’s free-kick hit the base of the left post.
The German team didn’t have to wait long for the equalizer as Napoli was caught out on the counterattack early in the second half.
Fofana raced forward onto a long ball and then squared it to Sheraldo Becker. His attempt was superbly parried by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, but Fofana tucked away the rebound.
It was his first club goal since scoring for Molde on November 13 last year.