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BREAKING: Lopetegui under pressure as Madrid lose to Levante



Real Madrid failed to ease the pressure on coach Julen Lopetegui and instead set the record for the longest goal – drought in the club ’ s history during a surprise 2 – 1 defeat by Levante on Saturday .
The defeat means Madrid have now gone five games without a victory and by the time Marcelo gave them hope of a comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu , they had gone 481 minutes without a goal too.

The club ’ s previous worst run had been 464 minutes , in 1985 .

For a team that prides itself on flair and flamboyance , it is a streak that reflects just as badly on Lopetegui as the results, which could leave Real Madrid four points adrift of Barcelona later on Saturday , with a ‘ Clasico ’ to come next weekend at the Camp Nou .
If Barca ’ s players were watching , they would have been licking their lips at the sight of Raphael Varane handing Levante a two -goal lead here after just 13 minutes . Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti, from the penalty spot , were the beneficiaries .

At the final whistle , Lopetegui stood on the touchline , with his hands on his hips , staring ahead in disbelief .

He had left Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema on the bench , perhaps due to fitness issues , and the gamble backfired , despite both making a difference when brought on in the second half .

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Madrid were two behind after 13 minutes and both came from Varane mistakes . The first was more blatant as he misjudged the flight of Sergio Postigo’ s through ball and Morales was clear .

Thibaut Courtois rushed out but Morales nicked it round him and fired into the open net .

It got worse as Varane handled a bouncing ball on the edge of the area but as Madrid ’ s wall waited , Guillermo Cuadra refused to allow the free – kick to be taken .

The Video Assistant Referee said Varane ’ s handball was inside the box and Roger converted the penalty .

For the rest of the half , Madrid were scatty and imprecise , their finishing spoiled by bad luck but a lack of composure too.

VAR proved their undoing again, ruling Marco Asensio ’ s follow – up offside after Casemiro had headed against the crossbar . Mariano was also denied by the woodwork while Ramos and Lucas Vazquez missed from three yards .

At half – time , there were a scattering of white handkerchiefs — the traditional expression of discontent — but more whistles. After the restart, the home fans sang “ echale huevos ” , meaning , “ play with some balls” .

Lopetegui had thrown Bale on for Alvaro Odriozola at the interval while Benzema and Dani Ceballos were introduced on the hour. Not before the 56 th minute had passed , however , and Madrid ’ s drought became their longest ever .

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Benzema shot straight at Oier Olazabal , who then pushed a bending Bale free – kick wide . Finally , Madrid scored , with that pair involved again as Bale flicked to Benzema at the back post. He picked out Marcelo to drive into the roof of the net .

Madrid believed again as Benzema struck the far post with a curling effort and Mariano thought he had grabbed an equaliser in the 87 th minute . The striker, however , had strayed just offside . For Madrid , it was not to be .

( AFP)

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