Real loss puts Schuster in hot water
Monday 17 March 2008
Bring back Fabio Capello – all is forgiven. The Madrid sports press hounded the current England manager out of Real last season because his title-winning football wasn't pretty enough, but after their eighth defeat this year, 1-0 at Deportivo La Coruña, they were labelling Bernd Schuster's team the worst Madrid side this century.
Real failed to create a single chance on goal and with their leading scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy still out injured they were beaten when central defender Pepe turned Felipe's left wing cross past Iker Casillas 11 minutes into the second half.
Although still top courtesy of their early season form it was their sixth defeat in six weeks and Schuster admitted: "It is very difficult to break down a team playing nine men behind the ball."
Real's priority in the summer will be a striker and while they were being bogged down in Coruña, their No 1 target Seville's Luis Fabiano was scoring his 21st and 22nd goals of the season. Fabiano is available in the summer for either £9m or £40m depending on whether you listen to Seville, who own a third of the player, or Global Sports Investment, who own the remaining two-thirds.
"We won't discuss the future of any player until the season ends," said Seville president Jose Maria Del Nido, who is behind the higher of those two evaluations.
Fabiano got both goals as Seville beat Valencia, putting him level with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to win Europe's Golden Boot. He bent a glorious free-kick over the Valencia wall for the first and then diverted Seydou Keita's shot past Timo Hildebrand for the second.
Valencia pulled one back late in the second half but could not prevent a seventh home defeat of the season. Under-fire coach Ronald Koeman could be sacked on Thursday if Valencia lose the second-leg of the Spanish Cup semi-final against Barcelona.
He admitted afterwards: "If we are knocked out then the people that make the decisions will have to decide. I know that this is a results business." He has won just two games in 16 since taking over.
Elsewhere the bottles were flying again at Real Betis' Ruis Lopera stadium. Just over a year after Juande Ramos was poleaxed by a bottle thrown from the crowd during a cup game between his then club Seville and Betis, the same fate befell the Athletic Bilbao keeper Armando Ribeiro.
He needed stitches on a cut below the eye after a bottle hit him in the face and referee Carlos Clos Gomez abandoned the match on 71 minutes with Athletic leading 2-1.
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