Real-ity strikes as Madrid's win streak ends in 3-0 defeat

Eibar's Jose Angel celebrates their third goal against Real Madrid during their La Liga match at Ipurua Municipal Stadium in Eibar on Nov 24, 2018.
Eibar's Jose Angel celebrates their third goal against Real Madrid during their La Liga match at Ipurua Municipal Stadium in Eibar on Nov 24, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • Four wins on the trot since coach Julen Lopetegui's sacking had lulled Real Madrid fans into a false sense of security and they got a rude awakening in a 3-0 LaLiga defeat at Eibar.

His replacement Santiago Solari's honeymoon period came to an abrupt end on Saturday. In his first game since earning the full-time reins until 2021 by achieving the best start by any Real manager, his team were never at the races.

Worryingly for the Argentinian, ahead of tomorrow's Champions League game at Roma which is likely to decide the winner of Group G, Real showed the same failings they had demonstrated during Lopetegui's 139 days in charge.

Solari refused to apportion "blame" despite their out-of-sorts display and claimed that deficiencies in defence were still "fixable" for the three-time defending European champions.

"It's a tough result that we didn't expect and we have to work to improve and adjust certain things, but they are remediable," he said.

"We had won four straight games, done some things very well, and we have to get back to that."

But Eibar, who secured a historic first win over Real, claimed the scoreline flattered the visitors and they "could even have scored more".

Said Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar: "Real have lost few games against opponents like us. For this club, so small, this city, this incredible atmosphere, it's been years that we've looked for this win."

In Madrid, Ousmane Dembele went from outcast to hero with an added-time equaliser to help Spanish champions Barcelona eke out a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.

Diego Costa's first league goal of the season, which ended his longest top-flight drought of 18 games, had given Diego Simeone's men hope of a first LaLiga win over Barcelona since 2010.

Dembele, 21, has been vilified in the Spanish media recently, with his unprofessional behaviour and poor time-keeping resulting in the France forward being dropped against Real Betis.

But coach Ernesto Valverde defended Dembele, who has been the subject of transfer rumours, and claimed that he was willing to work with the "great player" so that he can fulfil his potential.

"He has a lot of talents, among them goals. (The media) talk about him far too much. He's a player that we have to help so he can help us. We expect a lot of him," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2018, with the headline 'Real-ity strikes as Madrid's win streak ends in 3-0 defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe