Real Madrid 1-2 Levante: Pressure mounts on Julen Lopetegui
Real finally end record goalscoring drought - but Marcelo strike is in vain
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/10/18 3:57pm
Real Madrid failed to ease the pressure on Julen Lopetegui and instead set the record for the longest goal-drought in the club's history during a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Levante.
Jose Luis Morales struck after just seven minutes after a defensive slip from Raphael Varane and Roger Marti doubled their lead from the penalty spot soon after (13) when the France international was punished for handball.
Lopetegui's under-fire side broke an unwanted club record - set back in 1985 - of 464 minutes without scoring and although Marcelo finally struck (71) to reduce the deficit, it proved in vain.
Karim Benzema struck the woodwork and Marco Asensio saw a goal ruled out by VAR for offside but Real, fifth in the table, have now lost three successive games in all competitions and are without a win in five.
Former Spain coach Lopetegui's future was already being talked about following losses to CSKA Moscow and Alaves before the international break and the mood around the Bernabeu only darkened when Varane failed to track Morales and he rounded Thibaut Courtois and slotting into an empty net.
The Real defender was again culpable as Levante doubled their lead to the astonishment of the home crowd in the 13th minute. A handball by the World Cup winner was initially given as a free-kick on the edge of the box but referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez upgraded the decision to a penalty after consultation with VAR.
Though Marti made no mistake with his spot-kick, Real thought they had a swift way back when a Sergio Ramos header bounced off the crossbar and Asensio pounced.
But VAR once again proved their undoing, the system showing Asensio to be offside as Ramos headed the ball.
Real continued to fashion opportunities, with Mariano planting a header against the bar and Lucas Vazquez denied by a superb save from Levante goalkeeper Oier Olazabal.
Levante looked to have scored a third as half-time approached but Ruben Rochina's tap-in was chalked off due to provider Tono being offside before putting in a cross.
Gareth Bale was brought on for Alvaro Odriozola at the beginning of the second half while Luka Modric went close to halving the deficit but Olazabal palmed away after the Croatian had jinked his way into box and got a shot away.
The much-discussed 55th minute came and went without Real scoring, before the final roll of the dice came in the form of Karim Benzema and Dani Ceballos replacing Isco and Asensio.
Benzema was involved as Real finally ended the goal drought at 481 minutes, the Frenchman cutting the ball back to Marcelo, who rifled into the roof of the net.
Benzema saw his strike from the edge of the box come back off the post, before Mariano tucked home but saw the offside flag, as Real's desperate efforts proved in vain and boos rained down at full-time.