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22 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Real beaten by Levante

Pressure mounts on Lopetegui
AFP
Real beaten by Levante
Real Madrid’s midfielder Luka Modric reacts during the Spanish league match against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Saturday. AFP PHOTO

AFP, MADRID: 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.

Madrid have now gone five games without a victory and when Marcelo gave them hope of a comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, they had gone 481 minutes of normal time 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.

Atletico Madrid are two points ahead after they missed the chance to go top by drawing 1-1 away to Villarreal. Asked about his future, Lopetegui said: “It is the last thing I am thinking about. I am thinking only about lifting the players.”

Marcelo said: “We are with the coach until the death.”

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 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.

Lopetegui had cited a lack of luck in recent weeks and Madrid were not blessed with it.

They hit the crossbar twice and the post once. They suffered a two-goal swing as a result of the Video Assistant Referee, one against called as a penalty, and one ruled out for offside.

“I’m sure football will eventually give back to us what it is taking away,” Lopetegui said.

But a single goal, from their 30-year-old left-back, in over eight hours is no fluke, and neither are the defensive lapses that could have seen Levante add more to their early double.

Paco Lopez took charge of Levante in March and oversaw eight wins from 11 to avoid relegation. This season they are now seventh, a point behind Madrid.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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