Pressure mounts on Lopetegui as Madrid beaten by Levante

Madrid: Real Madrid failed to ease the pressure on coach Julen Lopetegui and instead set the record for the longest goal-drought in the club’s history during a surprise 2-1 defeat by Levante on Saturday. Madrid have now gone five games without a victory and when Marcelo gave them hope of a comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, they had gone 481 minutes of normal time without a goal too. The club’s previous worst run had been 464 minutes, in 1985.
For a team that prides itself on flair and flamboyance, it is a streak that reflects just as badly on Lopetegui as the results, which could leave Real Madrid four points adrift of Barcelona later on Saturday, with a ‘Clasico’ to come next weekend at the Camp Nou. Atletico Madrid are two points ahead after they missed the chance to go top by drawing 1-1 away to Villarreal. Asked about his future, Lopetegui said: “It is the last thing I am thinking about. I am thinking only about lifting the players.”

Marcelo said: “We are with the coach until the death.” If Barca’s players were watching, they would have been licking their lips at the sight of Raphael Varane handing Levante a two-goal lead after just 13 minutes. Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti, from the penalty spot, were the beneficiaries. At the final whistle, Lopetegui stood on the touchline, with his hands on his hips, staring ahead in disbelief. — AFP