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Monday, 14 October 2019

Real Madrid troubles deepen with loss at Alaves

Reuters , Saturday 6 Oct 2018
Madrid
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid - Estadio Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - October 6, 2018 Alaves' Manu Garcia celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS
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Real Madrid's miserable run continued as they slid to a shock 1-0 La Liga defeat at Alaves by conceding a goal deep in stoppage time on Saturday, marking their longest run without scoring in over 33 years.

Veteran midfielder Manu Garcia headed home after the ball hit the crossbar following a corner in the fifth minute of added time to send the raucous home crowd into ecstasy as Alaves climbed to third in the standings.

The triple European champions had been shackled by Alaves for most of the match and they were fortunate not to concede late in the second half before Garcia struck when Alaves's Jony fired narrowly wide on the break.

Alaves were the fourth team in a row to stop Real scoring and coach Julen Lopetegui will face further scrutiny with this defeat, which followed a 1-0 loss at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, a 3-0 thrashing at Sevilla and a goalless draw with Atletico Madrid.

Real are still joint top of the standings with 14 points after eight games but they could drop down to fourth if leaders Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid all win on Sunday.

Alaves, whose fortunes have been transformed since coach Abelardo Fernandez took over last December when they were fighting against relegation, rose to a third. Since Abelardo became coach, only Real, Barcelona and Atletico have taken more points than them in La Liga.

Embattled Real boss Lopetegui made five changes to the team that limped to defeat in Moscow, recalling Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale while leaving out Marco Asensio.

Real had a few early chances as Karim Benzema and Dani Ceballos fired at former Real goalkeeper Pacheco but did not trouble him while Benzema had a shot cleared off the line.

Lopetegui took early action to boost his side's firepower, bringing on centre forward Mariano Diaz for Benzema at the start of the second half and later threw on Spain forward Asensio and Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr.

Alaves continued to snaffle out any danger, though, and Garcia's last-gasp strike turned the visitors' frustrations into despair.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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