The pressure on Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui is mounting after Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Levante. (EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez)
Real Madrid’s miserable season continued on Saturday with a 2-1 home loss to Levante, a result that extends the club’s winless streak to five games and potentially puts first-year coach Julen Lopetegui’s job in jeopardy.
Real’s terrible run of form has already reached historic proportions. It set a club record for futility in front of goal during the match, a run that extended 481 minutes until Brazilian defender Marcelo finally scored in the second half.
That looked to be the start of a Real comeback. While Levante thoroughly deserved its 2-0 lead, courtesy of goals by Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti inside the first 13 minutes, and had chances to put the game away with a third, the home team put forth a furious second-half effort.
But Levante held on to win its first match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in more than a decade despite being dominated on the post-match stat sheet: Real outshot the visitors 34-6 and controlled more than 70 percent of the possessions but couldn’t find an equalizer, in large part because of Levante keeper Oier Olazabal. Olazabal made 11 saves in all, none of them better than his one-handed stop of a Gareth Bale free kick in the 72nd minute. The hosts also had an apparent goal nullified after video review and another ruled offside.
Looking on from the stands, club president Florentino Perez clearly wasn’t impressed:
The loss drops Real to 0-4-1 in its last five games across all competitions, with no sign of its scoring woes ending soon. It’s obvious that the club desperately misses superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sold to Italian titan Juventus over the summer without being adequately replaced.
Lopetegui’s team will try to end its slump when it travels to the Czech Republic to play Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday in UEFA Champions League action before resuming its La Liga schedule next Sunday away to chief rival Barcelona.
It remains to be seen if Lopetegui is still in charge by then. If he his, another league loss at Camp Nou would surely seal his fate.
Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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