Real pulled out all the stops to ensure David Beckham played last night - Madrid won an appeal to have the red card Beckham picked up against Valencia at the weekend rescinded so that the England captain could play - but it was to no avail as he lasted just under an hour on the pitch and the team slumped to a morale-sapping 3-1 defeat.
Beckham turned in an anonymous performance in midfield and was replaced by youth-team player Javier Balboa, but England colleague Jonathan Woodgate had it far worse as he was given a torrid time by the rampant Deportivo forwards and was at fault for at least one of the Galician side's goals.
Deportivo made a whirlwind start at the Riazor against a weakened Real missing Ronaldo, Julio Baptista and Zinedine Zidane as they laid seige to their opponents' area in the opening quarter of an hour.
The chances came thick and fast from Depor, while Real managed to threaten the opposition goal just once in the first half when a weak shot from Robinho looped into Jose Molina's hands.
Depor eventually got the lead they deserved when Canadian midfielder De Guzman squeezed a shot past Iker Casillas and inside the far post in the 34th minute. Juanma made it 2-0 before the break when he headed in a great cross from former Real Madrid midfielder Pedro Munitis. The Deportivo centre-back took full advantage of some appalling defending to make it 3-0 with another fine header six minutes from time. Raul pulled one back for Real with a long-distance strike two minutes later but it was scant consolation for the visitors who turned in one of their worst performances of the season.
With Real suffering their second league defeat in a row, Osasuna seized control at the top of La Liga after a last-gasp 3-2 win at home to Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona moved to within two points of the leaders after a Ronaldinho penalty and a classy finish from substitute Henrik Larsson earned them a 2-0 win at home to Malaga. Real are now three points off the pace in fifth.
La Coruña: Molina, Manuel Pablo, Coloccini (Cesar 71), Juanma, Capdevila; De Guzman, Scaloni, Duscher, Munitis; Valeron (Sergio 86), Tristan (Castro 76) Substitutes not used: Mallo (gk), Romero, Acuna, Carril
Real Madrid: Casillas; Diogo, Ramos, Woodgate, Roberto Carlos; Beckham (Balboa 53), Helguera, Garcia (Soldado 67), Guti; Robinho, Raul Substitutes not used: Lopez (gk), Pavon, Mejia, Bravo, De la Red Referee: D. Fernandez Borbalan
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