Real Madrid’s woes deepen with surprise home defeat by Real Sociedad

Real Madrid Coach, Santiago Solari


Real Madrid’s nightmarish start to the new year continued on Sunday with a shock 2-0 home defeat by struggling Real Sociedad.

The defeat left the European champions sitting outside the top four in La Liga.

Willian Jose put the Basques ahead in the third minute and thereafter Real Madrid missed a series of clear chances.

They also had two penalty kick appeals waved away and saw Lucas Vazquez sent off.

To worsen things for the capital club, midfielder Ruben Pardo sealed their fate with a headed goal in the 84th minute.

Many home fans flocked away early in dismay while others greeted the final whistle with deafening boos after Real Sociedad won at the Bernabeu for the first time since 2004.

Real Madrid, who drew 2-2 with struggling Villarreal on Thursday, are fifth on 30 points after 18 games in the La Liga standings, 10 adrift of leaders FC Barcelona.

FC Barcelona were in action against Getafe later on Sunday, and won 2-1.

Real Sociedad climbed from 16th up to 11th.

Before kick-off, Real Madrid paraded the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup trophy they won last month for a third consecutive time.

However, the celebratory mood was soon punctured when Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro was penalised for hauling down Mikel Merino in the box.

Jose Willian smashed his spot kick down the middle of the goal beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Although Real Madrid rallied with a glut of chances throughout, they somehow failed to find the net.

Karim Benzema missed a gilt-edged opportunity by firing wide of the far post with the goal gaping, while Vazquez struck the other post with what looked like an intended cross.

Real Madrid spurned a triple chance immediately after the interval as Real Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli thwarted Vinicius Jr. and Raphael Varane from close range.

Their task was however made all the harder when Vazquez was dismissed in the 61st minute for a second booking.

Argentine goalkeeper Rulli later appeared to trip Brazilian teenager Vinicius in the area but no penalty kick was awarded.

It was a decision which left the Bernabeu faithful incensed after Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos had an earlier penalty kick shout turned down.

“Everything went against us today. We had a terrible start, a very unfortunate play in the opening minutes and every error at this level is punished dearly,” said Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari.

“We did everything to turn it around. We had a lot of chances (but) none of them went in and in football it’s the goals that count.

“We also had a penalty kick appeal which no-one can understand why it wasn’t given.

“I give the benefit of the doubt to the referee for the first incident, but the second one is a penalty every day of the week.”(Reuters/NAN)