For Real Madrid, the crisis continues. It’s now more than six hours since Los Blancos found the net, and after this weekend, it was a second defeat in a row in all competitions, and two league losses in three games. For all the patience that the Julen Lopetegui era requires, he may well start looking like a man out of time.
They went into this game at Alaves expectant, despite their preceding recent results, and a win at the Mendizorroza seemed a must if they were to subdue talk of a catastrophic start. Real, as always, bossed proceedings and dominated possession, but for umpteenth time looked lacklustre and predictable in the final third, and hardly troubled Alaves goalie Fernando Pacheco.
The same pattern followed into the second half, a Gareth Bale free-kick the closest they came to working Pacheco in the Alaves goal, and there would be no breakthrough. With 94 minutes on the clock, the game looked to be heading for a stalemate, which would be seen as disappointment from Real Madrid’s point of view, but what happened late on turned it into a disaster.
From an Alaves corner, Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was caught in no man’s land, and although he reacted to foil an initial header, the ricochet flew the way of Alaves substitute Manu Garcia, who headed into an unguarded net, to give Abelardo’s men a precious victory. That puts Alaves in sixth place, only behind Real on goal difference, with the European champions in fourth, an atrocity by their standards.
Barcelona’s season isn’t going much better either. The league champions’ form has been underwhelming, despite a win at Tottenham in the Champions League in midweek, as they visited Valencia this weekend. And it didn’t take long for them to fall behind at the Mestalla, Ezequiel Garay putting Valencia into the lead after just two minutes. Barcelona, though, retorted midway through the first half via skipper Lionel Messi, but there were no other goals, as Barcelona shared the spoils at the Mestalla for the second season running.
Those run of results have ‘machin’ated to aid Sevilla’s surprising path to the top of the table. Pablo Machin’s side have been impressive so far this season, and vanquished Real Madrid at the Sanchez Pizjuan a few games ago. It was also on home soil they faced Celta Vigo this weekend, and they went in front after a Pablo Sarabia header just six minutes before halftime. Wissam Ben Yedder doubled the lead in the 61st minute, three minutes after Nestor Araujo saw red for Celta, rendering Sofiane Boufal’s late goal as nothing more than consolation. Los Rojilblancos astonishingly go into the international break as the number one team in Spain.
Elsewhere, Angel Correa’s goal was enough for Atletico Madrid to see off Real Betis, Mikel Oyarzabal bagged a double for Sociedad in the Basque win over Bilbao, while Cristhian Stuani also scored twice for Girona, although he ended up on the losing side to Eibar.
Villarreal lie in 16th place after defeat at Espanyol, Leganes moved off the bottom after seeing off ten-man Rayo Vallecano, and Valladolid climbed into the top seven after a win over bottom-placed Huesca.
Sevilla 2-1 Celta Vigo
Valencia 1-1 Barcelona
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Betis
Alaves 1-0 Real Madrid
Espanyol 3-1 Villarreal
Valladolid 1-0 Huesca
Bilbao 1-3 Real Sociedad
Getafe 0-1 Levante
Girona 2-3 Eibar
Leganes 1-0 Rayo
Image Credit: Talksport