A last minute goal by Manu Garcia broke Real Madrid’s hearts but sent Alaves fans in the Mendizorrotza wild as his team earned a dramatic 1-0 win.
Alaves had a game plan and they stuck to it until the very end. They were able to hold Madrid and prevented them from causing any real problems. Real, on the other hand, will be extremely disappointed in their performance as that makes two consecutive 1-0 defeats away from home to ‘inferior’ opposition.
The game itself was largely uneventful until the final five minutes. Real Madrid controlled the play and possession but did so without posing much threat. Alaves worked hard off the ball and attempted to counter-attack when they could, which allowed them to cause Real some problems. The best of these came through winger Jony who was able to get in behind Real’s high line as he fired an effort just wide on the 76 minute mark.
Ramos was sent forward by Real as the game entered the five minutes of stoppage time. Los Blancos certainly felt the onus was on them to score. 94 minutes was on the clock when Alaves earned themselves a corner. Truth be told, they were just happy to wind down the clock so late to the end of the game, when Sobrino found himself free on the penalty spot. His initial effort was saved by Thibaut Courtois only for it to then fall to Garcia who was able to steer it home from just a few yards out.
Finding myself watching Real Madrid for the second time this week, astounded, again, by how toothless they look without Ronaldo. Lack of creativity and leadership.
— Will Stevens (@StevensWL) October 6, 2018
This is now four consecutive games without a goal for Madrid and manager Julen Lopetegui will certainly be concerned for his team, and possibly even his own job. Madrid missed a chance to go top of the table with Barcelona playing tomorrow. Alaves however now join their opponents on 14 points. They have made a remarkable start to the season.
Key Talking Point
Real Madrid have not scored in their last four matches. Despite having 70% of the ball, Real only managed 12 attempts on goal, none of which were particularly venomous or threatening.
It must be said that Alaves did really well to frustrate Los Blancos, as they sat deep and did not give Real’s front three any room or space to manoeuvre. However, this is not something Madrid have not seen before. They should have the personnel and tactics capable enough of beating a team like this under any circumstances.
The wider issue for Real is beyond the statistics. it is not that they haven’t scored goals, but that they don’t look like scoring. Back to back defeats in all competitions and in neither game have they looked like carving a team open.
There were some Real Madrid fans who hated Cristiano Ronaldo when he was scoring lots of Goals and winning matches for Real Madrid.
Now we have gone 330+ mints without scoring a goal.
— SM¹³ (@SMFutboI) October 6, 2018
They created just the one opportunity today and that came in the first ten minutes when Modric took up a position in the right and was able to deliver a good cross. However from that moment, Real looked regimented and stiff with no creativity or game plan.
Starting XI (4-3-3): Courtois (7); Odriozola (7), Ramos (8), Varane (7), Nacho (6); Casemiro (6), Modric (7), Kroos (7); Bale (6), Benzema (5), Ceballos (6).
Substitutes: Mariano (7), Asensio (5), Vinicius Junior (5)
STAR MAN – Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid were largely without the creativity and purpose they needed to break down this stubborn Alaves team, however, Ramos played very well today. He marshalled his defence well and remain focused, even when there were large periods of the game when Real had all the ball. He will obviously be disappointed by the late goal, but was not at fault for this.
Whilst always remaining alert off the ball, Ramos was also responsible on the ball. There were no lazy passes which might have allowed Alaves to sneak a chance, and when he needed to, the Spaniard was able to spread the ball quickly with his diverse range of passing.
WORST PLAYER – Karim Benzema
The French striker hadn’t scored in his previous six games and he didn’t end that streak today. Benzema looked slow and out of ideas. Understandably, given his form, he appeared short of confidence.
However, Benzema did make a bright start to the game. Just eight minutes in he was found in the centre of the goal by a wonderful Modric cross when he appeared to have steered a header past Pacheco in the Alaves goal, just when Laguardia recovered to make a goal line clearance.
Mariano in 4mins has had more touches in the box than Benzema in 45mins.
— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) October 6, 2018
Benzema then spent the rest of the game being dispossessed and turning down blind channels. He also did very little to bring his two fellow forwards Bale and Ceballos in to the game. This led to the Frenchman being hooked at halftime and Mariano did more than enough to show he can lead the line for Real if Benzema can’t.
Real will be looking to end their sorry run of form when they face Levante at home next Saturday. Lopetegui has a week to try and sort this team out. I expect the coach to make a series of changes with maybe the likes of Benzema and Ceballos facing a period out of the team.
Lopetegui’s biggest problem is that there is no one big problem – team in general just looking tired and slow.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) October 6, 2018
We may also see Lopetegui change his tactics in games like this as Casemiro was a wasted selection given how Alaves set up. We may see him start with a more attacking minded midfield and maybe allow Kroos to play deeper if needed.
After Levante Real face Plzen in the Champions League before preparing for the El Classico on the 28th November.