Madrid loses at Alaves on last-gasp goal, winless in 4 games
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 07, 2018 06:22 AM
Deportivo Alaves' Ruben Duarte, on the pitch, celebrates with a teammate after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves at Mendizorroza stadium, in Vitoria, northern Spain, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Deportivo Alaves won the match 1-0. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid hasn't struggled this much to score a goal in more than three decades.
A last-gasp goal by Alaves dealt Real Madrid a 1-0 defeat in the Spanish league on Saturday, extending the scoring drought afflicting the European champion to four straight matches — a period of almost seven hours without finding the net.
The last time Madrid went as long without a goal was 1985.
And coach Julen Lopetegui is running out of time to make his attack click without the goals once provided by former star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Madrid has only one win in its last five Liga matches, and has gone four matches in all competitions without a victory.
To make matters worse, Madrid lost its top forwards Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to unspecified injuries that kept them from finishing the match.
The team's fortunes have taken a drastic turn since it beat Roma 3-0 in the Champions League less than two weeks ago.
Madrid center back Sergio Ramos defended Lopetegui, who took over from the hugely successful Zinedine Zidane this summer.
Ramos said it would be "crazy" to change managers now, since "the team is fighting for position at the top of the table. We have to remain calm and try to break this streak."
Alaves substitute Manu Garcia sent the fans at Mendizorroza Stadium into ecstasy when he headed in a corner kick knocked on by a teammate on the last touch of the match.
Alaves savored a Liga victory over Madrid at home for the first time since the 1930-31 season.
The memorable victory confirmed the team coached by former Barcelona defender Abelardo Fernandez as the revelation of the season in Spain. With only two loses in eight rounds, the modest Basque Country club rose to level on points with Madrid and Barcelona atop the league standings.
"This is going to be one of the best days of my career," Garcia, a midfielder and team captain, said. "I am very proud. All the teams are in a tight bunch at the top and this match has to show us the way forward."
Madrid was stifled by Alaves' intense pressure and was mostly limited to incursions by right back Alvaro Odriozola.
Lopetegui sent on Mariano Diaz at halftime to replace Benzema, after six and a half matches without a goal from the French striker.
Seeing no improvement from his side, Lopetegui also sent on playmaker Marco Asensio for holding midfielder Casemiro, with Bale needing to be replaced late by Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior.
But instead of Madrid bombarding the hosts, it was Alaves that earned a corner kick five minutes into stoppage time. Ruben Sobrino headed the ball to the far post, where goalie Thibaut Courtois could only palm it to Garcia, who nodded it in.
Barcelona, which has also had trouble winning in the league recently, visits Valencia on Sunday.
Forward Sergi Enrich scored a second-half header for Eibar to beat Girona 3-2 after a first half that ended 2-2 thanks to two video reviews.
Enis Bardhi scored from a free kick for Levante to win at Getafe 1-0, while Leganes beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0.