Real Madrid endured some terrible preparation for tomorrow's Champions League quarter-final first-leg visit of Tottenham Hotspur when they went down to a shock 1-0 home defeat to Sporting Gijon on Saturday.
Miguel de las Cuevas' 79th minute winner not only ended Real's 24-match-winning record at the Bernabeu this season, but also brought to an end manager Jose Mourinho's nine-year, 150-match unbeaten run in home league matches. The Portuguese, who took over the Spanish side last summer, last lost a home league game in February 2002, his Porto side losing 3-2 to Beira Mar. He remained unbeaten in spells with Chelsea and Internazionale.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Kaka and Marcelo all absent through injury and Xabi Alonso suspended, Real lacked creativity and struggled to fashion anything of note against stubborn opponents.
De las Cuevas, a former Atletico Madrid player, collected a Nacho Cases pass and finished low past Iker Casillas to put Gijon ahead late in the second half. Despite a frantic late onslaught, with the Sporting goal leading a charmed life, Real ended pointless.
"We have to absorb the blow and regroup," Casillas said. "It's always hard to digest a defeat but we will deal with it as best we can and with a desire to get the best out of the rest of the season.
"We will see what happens in La Liga but the priority right now is to concentrate on Tottenham."