Levante pile more misery on Real Madrid

Levante piled more pressure on Julen Lopetegui as Real Madrid fell to a fifth game without a win, losing 2-1 on Saturday.

See how the action unfolded at the Santiago Bernabeu with our liveblog!

Levante raced to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 13 minutes and held on, despite Madrid having two goals disallowed, ending a record drought, hitting the woodwork three times and being denied by a succession of Oier Olazabal saves.

Lucas Vazquez, Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio formed a new-look front three for Los Blancos, who also had Marcelo, Isco, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema back in their squad.

The visit of Levante was a must-win for Madrid, who had gone four games without a victory, while it had been over six hours since they last scored a goal.

Indeed, the capital giants would endure the driest spell of their 116-year history if they failed to find the back of the net before the 56th minute against the Valencians.

Levante, for their part, had won back-to-back games and ended Barcelona’s season-long unbeaten run in the penultimate round of last term.

Raphael Varane lost Morales from a long ball and the striker capitalised on a hesitant Thibaut Courtois, rounding the goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net.

Six minutes later, VAR considered Varane’s handball to be inside the box, and Roger Marti fired the penalty into Courtois’ bottom-right corner.

Madrid thought they pulled one back when Casemiro nodded in a rebound from a header that crashed against the crossbar, but VAR showed the midfielder was a yard offside.

Los Blancos had surpassed seven hours without a goal, and Oier pushed away Lucas Vazquez’s strike just inside the area, before keeping out Sergio Ramos from point-blank range.

The former Barcelona goalkeeper could only watch Mariano Diaz power a header on to the bar, but he somehow denied Vazquez from a yard out, before Levante had a third goal disallowed for a marginal offside call.

It was confirmed shortly after half-time that there were 20,000 empty seats at the Bernabeu, and that was followed by Madrid going 465 minutes without a goal – the worst run in their 116-year history.

Bale was brought on for the second half, and the Welshman curled a free kick on target, which Oier impressively parried away.

He then played a role in Los Blancos’ long-awaited goal, flicking a header to fellow substitute Benzema, who teed up Marcelo for an explosive finish with his right foot.

Benzema took on a one-two with Marcelo and smacked a shot against the frame of Oier’s goal, and if that wasn’t enough luck for Levante to savour, Mariano was offside when he mopped up the save from his strike partner’s header.

Real Madrid 1-2 Levante

Marcelo 72 (RM) Morales 7, Roger pen 13 (L)

Levante: Oier; Cabaco, Postigo (Chema 75), Rober; Jason, Rochina (Doukoure 67), Bardhi, Campana, Tono; Morales, Roger (Boateng 79)

Real Madrid: Courtois; Odriozola (Bale 46), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Isco (Benzema 60); Vazquez, Mariano, Asensio (Ceballos 60)

Referee: Cuadra Fernandez