Real Madrid register first defeat of the season

Real, Madrid

WEEKEND WARRIORS

Well, well… so Real Madrid can be defeated! Who would have thought they would come away pointless from Seville? With 12 points and just three wins in ten games in Primera Division and boasting only one win in their previous five games, Sevilla FC wasn’t looking likely to be the victor when facing the only undefeated team in Spanish football. Even Sevilla‘s own fans probably bet against an upset. 22 minutes into the game, when Sergio Ramos put the visitors ahead with a stunning volley, it all looked like it would be going as predicted. Except it didn’t.

Ramos, Real‘s captain, had to be substituted in the 32nd minute due to an injury, and it all went downhill from there. Left without its main pillar, the Galacticos’ defence crumbled and Ciro Immobile was first to take advantage, equalizing just four minutes after Ramos had left the field. With less than half an hour left in the game, Ever Banega found the net and put the hosts  in front. Even with Gareth Bale back from injury, Real were powerless in their attempt to answer with some goals of their own… or at least to hold back Sevilla. Another defensive mistake left Llorente unmarked to make it an unbelievable 3-1. Why “unbelievable”? Because Real hadn’t conceded more than one goal in any other game this season. In fact, the Madrid club had only let in four goals before the trip to Seville.

Sevilla felt comfortable with the scoreline and didn’t keep pushing. Substitute James Rodriguez was able to pull one back for Real, three minutes into injury time, but that was all she wrote and Real lost for the first time in 15 games played in all competitions this season. What’s worse is that title rivals – and new league leaders – Barcelona won emphatically, 3-0 at home against Villarreal. That means the reigning Spanish champions now hold a three-point advantage over Real Madrid. Next round, in two weeks time, Real host Barcelona in what is widely regarded as the greatest football game in the worldEl Clasico. The pressure is entirely on Real. Winning would put Rafa Benitez‘ team in front of their rivals, on goal difference. But losing would mean a six point deficit, and with Barcelona winning nine out of 11 games so far, six points is a lot.

To make matters even worse for Real, the other Madrid team – Atletico – are just one point behind, in 3rd place. This weekend they faced Sporting Gijon at home and were lucky to get all three points, as Antoine Griezmann grabbed a very late winner, in the 93rd minute. But history doesn’t remember luck; just results. Two weeks from now, when Real host Barcelona, Atletico travel to play Betis, a team with three straight defeats on their own turf and just one home win all season. It’s not so far fetched to envision Real losing to Barcelona and Betis to Atletico, leaving the Galacticos 3rd in Primera Division and Rafa Benitez in search of a new job. People who run clubs the stature of Real Madrid aren’t very patient or understanding with managers.

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