Europe: Champions League
2 - 3
(1 - 0)
Union Berlin
Real Madrid
K. Volland (45), A. Král (85)
X L. Modrić (45), Joselu (61), Joselu (72), D. Ceballos (89)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Ceballos inflicts fatal blow as luckless Union crash out of Europe

With Europa League passage still up for grabs, the Köpenick club required a win against Real Madrid in their final fixture of the UEFA Champions League Group C. Despite their hard work, Union succumbed to a 3-2 defeat.
Playing in the unfamiliar surroundings of their rival's Olympiastadion, Union came close to giving Madrid's Galacticos a scare inside the opening minute. Kevin Behrens' sharp volley was crucially diverted over the bar by Kepa inside 50 seconds.

However, Real would not be unnerved in the competition they've cherished competing over several decades. Joselu's thumping header cannoned off Rønnow's crossbar in the 16th minute. The visitors assumed control thereafter and won a penalty for Diogo Leite's 44th-minute handball. Fortunately, Die Eisern fans could breath a sigh of relief as Rønnow repelled Modrić's spotkick.

If that wasn't enough drama before the interval, the Union crowd would hit fever pitch when Volland struck to make it 1-0. Alaba's failed attempt to clear found the German who remained cool to slot beneath Kepa and evade Vazquez's challenge. Pandemonium followed as Union found themselves in their desired position.

While Nenjad Bjelica's Union kept pace in the second half, Real would restore parity in the 61st minute. Rodrygo beat Roussillon down the right and crossed for Joselu. The Spaniard's strength proved too much for Jaeckel, freeing himself to guide a header into the left corner.

Union's dream of securing a Europa League berth was put beyond doubt in the 73rd minute. Once again, Joselu landing the fatal blow via his aerial prowess. Fran Garcia supplied the cross for the 33-year-old who squeezed his effort between Rønnow and the upright.

Union would snatch a lifeline in the 85th minute via the boot of Kral. The Czech midfielder thrashed a low shot beyond Kepa from 18 metres to offer a glimmer of hope. But for a third time this evening, Real would strike back. Ex-Dortmund man Bellingham fed Ceballos whose shot ricocheted of Roussillon to wrongfoot Rønnow. Perhaps a microcosm of what sums up Union's Champions League campaign - so near, so close.

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