Jude Bellingham scored his third goal in as many Champions League appearances for Real Madrid as the Spanish side won 2-1 away to Braga in Portugal on Tuesday.
Rodrygo put Real ahead and England star Bellingham made it 2-0 just after the hour mark, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side then holding on after Alvaro Djalo pulled one back for Braga.
“Overall, I really think we produced a good game,” said Ancelotti.
“I didn’t enjoy that they scored because before that we were well in control and the win was in hand.”
The result leaves Madrid in a strong position with the maximum nine points from three games in Group C, three ahead of Napoli who beat Union Berlin 1-0 away in Germany.
After a cagey start, Nacho released Vinicius down the left flank and the Brazilian stood Serdar Saatci up before squaring for a sliding Rodrygo to give Madrid the lead on 16 minutes.
Madrid briefly thought they had doubled their lead 10 minutes before half-time when Rodrygo slotted the ball into an empty net, but Vinicius had strayed offside as Eduardo Camavinga played him in near the halfway line.
Bellingham doubled Madrid’s lead on 61 minutes when he stroked the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after being teed up by Vinicius.
It was his 11th goal in all competitions for Real since joining the record 14-time European champions from Borussia Dortmund ahead of this season.
However, the home side halved the deficit just two minutes later when Djalo powered a near-post drive past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Braga then introduced the dangerous Bruma, who was only deemed fit enough to start on the bench. The change nearly paid off on 70 minutes when a Ricardo Horta drive was spooned just wide by Arrizabalaga.
Vinicius thought he had added a goal to his two assists on 82 minutes, but the assistant’s flag denied him with Madrid looking to kill off the game.
A VAR check for a penalty in the 89th minute was Braga’s last hope for an equaliser as Madrid ground out a hard-fought victory.
The Spanish side will be looking to book their place in the round of 16 when they host Braga in the return fixture on November 8.
Given the nod to start up front, Brazilian attacker Rodrygo will be hoping his goal will ensure his place in the starting XI for Saturday’s Clasico away to Barcelona.
Speaking to UEFA after the match, compatriot Vinicius said of the striker “I’d say it was good for his confidence to get a goal – particularly ahead of the Clasico”.