Madrid, Oct 20 (IANS) On the strength of two goals in the opening minutes, Levante stunned Real Madrid 2-1 on Saturday, earning their second-ever win against Madrid and their third consecutive La Liga victory.
After Saturday’s loss, a struggling Real Madrid has failed to win its last four Spanish league matches, suffering three defeats and a draw, reports Efe.
Los Blancos conceded two goals in the first 13 minutes, then suffered a run of bad luck as they hit the woodwork three times and had two goals ruled out.
Madrid’s third consecutive defeat in all competitions brings coach Julen Lopetegui one step closer to departure, as the team was overwhelmed by a brave Levante squad who relied on five players in the midfield, a strategy that paid off more quickly than they may have imagined.
Just six minutes into the first half, Levante left wing Jose Luis Morales got a long pass by defender Sergio Postigo and took advantage of a lapse of concentration from Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, dribbling past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and putting it home.
The VAR stepped in a few minutes later when a nervous Varane touched the ball with his hand and the referee initially awarded Levante a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.
After the VAR team’s review, the call was changed to a penalty kick that Roger Marti successfully converted.
Just a few minutes later, Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio scored after seizing on a ricocheted ball off the woodwork, but the referee ruled it offside after checking the video replay.
Shortly before the break, Levante’s Ruben Rochina scored what could have been a third goal if not for the VAR team, who disallowed it for being offside.
As the minutes ticked away, Real Madrid was under increasing pressure, and coach Lopetegui’s changes – first inserting French forward Karim Benzema and then Walsh forward Gareth Bale – failed to bring the desired result.
Los Blancos got on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute on a close-range shot by Brazilian defender Marcelo, who broke the team’s record goalless drought of eight hours and one minute, but the equalizer remained beyond their reach.