As it happenedended1540045477

Real Madrid 1-2 Levante - Julen Lopetegui's side suffer third loss in a row as fans wave white handkerchiefs

Relive all the action from the La Liga fixture

Tom Kershaw
Saturday 20 October 2018 11:50
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Mariano Diaz takes Real Madrid No.7

Julen Lopetegui looked forlornly to the floor as the final whistle blew. In the stands too they whistled and whirled white handkerchiefs. AS The Spanish manager, who arrived at the club under such controversial circumstances, anxiously chewed his bottom-lip even his thoughts were surely in parallel with those angry supporters - it's over.

As the 54th minute passed, Real Madrid officially surpassed the 465 minute tally which had previously been their all -time longest goal drought. Eventually, even when they did find an oasis, their performance was lacklustre and often lifless. It seems the only way Madrid can recover post-Ronaldo is to become post-Lopetegui too.

Julen Lopetegui has only been in charge at the Bernabeu for two months

Madrid's decline could be characterised by the ease with which Levante scored their first goal. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane allowed a simple through ball from counterpart centre-back Sergio Postigo to drift between them which Jose Morales gleefully pounced on, rounded the helpless Thibaut Courtois and prodded home for his fourth goal of the season after just six minutes.

And again, it was Varane at fault for Levante's second just minutes later. The ball bounced on the edge of the area and hit his flailing arm and although the referee initially awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, it was then overturned by VAR.

Levante have now won three games in a row

Morales' strike partner Roger calmly converted from the spot and Madrid were two down after the opening fifteen minutes of a match for the first time since February 2017.

Feeling the remnants of his Real career ebb away, Lopetegui had made all three of his substitutions by the 60th minute. Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale came on and immediately offered a predatorial instinct in the final third which for a while threatened to overturn the deficit, espefcially after the former's trickery teed up Marcelo's thrash into the roof of the net on 72 minutes to claw one back.

Marcelo gave Real Madrid slight hope of a comeback

However, it wasn't to be. Even as Bale half-heartedly attempted to gee up the crowd, they are a side who seem to have lost their soul. This was their third loss in a row. They have won just one of their last five. And as the Levante players celebrated their historic win in the centre-circle at the full-time whistle, they were the happy ending in a tragic Madrid story for Lopetegui.

Relive all the action below.

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Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid host Levante at the Bernabeu in a crucial game for the manager so early into his tenure. The international break gave the Real Madrid boss at least somewhat of a reprieve but with only one win in their last five games and reports swirling that Antonio Conte is very close to being confirmed as his replacement this could be a defining match for his unsteady reign.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:01
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Levante meanwhile sit in eleventh place in the league after taking ten points from eight games but are in high spirits after winning their last two matches.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:05
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And we're underway at the Bernabeu. Here is confirmation of the teams:

Real Madrid: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Isco; Vazquez, Asensio, Mariano.

Levante: Oier; Cabaco, Postigo, Rober; Jason, Rochina, Bardhi,  Campaña, Toño; Morales, Roger

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:08
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Goal: Real Madrid 0-1 Levante

Morales 5'

A simple through ball from the base of defence finds Morales who darts through the space between Varane and Ramos before rounding Courtois and slotting home. It was very careless defending from Varane to not track the run and there's whistles from the frustrated home fans.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:13
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Real Madrid 0-1 Levante

Penalty Levante 12'

And now it's a penalty! A hand ball on the edge of the box by Varane is initially given as a free-kick but after referring to VAR it's given as a penalty. There's barely a complaint from the Madrid players.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:17
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Goal: Real Madrid 0-2 Levante

Roger '13

Roger hits it at a good height for Thibaut Courtois who goes the right way but it nestles into the right hand side of the netting. A disastrous start for the home side.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:19
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Real Madrid 0-2 Levante 

16': Huge controversy as Real Madrid think they've scored twice from one corner only for it to be disallowed by VAR

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:22
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Real Madrid 0-2 Levante 

17': Sergio Ramos' header hits the bar from a corner and bounces down onto the line just an inch short of going in. Then Asensio nods in the bouncing ball and runs off celebrating. Moments later VAR reveals he was in fact offside. 

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:23
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Real Madrid 0-2 Levante 

19': It's very unlucky for Madrid who are still so distracted by the incident that they almost concede a third with Morales coming so close to latching onto a through ball over the top before Courtois scrambles to successfully gather.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:26
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Real Madrid 0-2 Levante 

21': Sergio Ramos again comes close with a header forcing Oier inro a brilliant save to tip over the bar. It wouldn't have counted though. A free-kick is given to the away side for a push in the back by the Spaniard.

Tom Kershaw20 October 2018 12:28

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