Real rotate and slip up at home to Levante
La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 1 (Vazquez 36) Levante 1 (Ivi 12)
Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by newly promoted Levante, meaning the Spanish champions have now dropped points in back-to-back games at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes to his lineup, with both Theo Hernandez and Marcos Llorente handed starting spots for the champions as the Real Madrid boss rotated his squad after the international break.
He was forced to shuffle his pack once again midway through the first half when Karim Benzema suffered an injury, with Gareth Bale thrown on to play as a makeshift number nine. Real Madrid never looked comfortable in their new shape, though, with Levante making things difficult for them.
Lucas Vazquez netted an equaliser after Ivi Lopez’s surprise opener, but the hosts failed to use that as a platform for the comeback, with the visitors remaining composed. Marcelo was shown a red card late on for a kick out at an opposition player, summing up the champions’ afternoon.
Will Alvaro Morata’s exit haunt Real Madrid this season? For the second successive game, Real Madrid missed Alvaro Morata against Levante. Two weeks earlier, they could have used the Spain international as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Valencia. This time, Benzema’s injury left Real Madrid without a deputy number nine, forcing Zidane to play Bale as a central striker. It was a ploy that didn’t really work. So will Real Madrid come to rue the decision to allow Morata to join Chelsea?
Gareth Bale lors de Real Madrid-LevanteGetty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Raul Fernandez (Levante): The Levante goalkeeper was probably expecting a rather traumatic afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu. Instead, Raul Fernandez turned in an exceptional performance to earn his side an unlikely point at the home of the champions. Levante looked composed for the majority of the contest and much of that was down to the performance of their man between the posts.
Levante: Raul 8, Ivan 6, Tono 7, Rober 6, Chema 5, Lerma 6, Ivi 7, Postigo 6, Alegria 7, Jason 5, Campana 5. Subs - Lopez 5, Garcia 5, Boateng 5.
Marco Asensio face à LevanteGetty Images
13’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Levante: Well, well, well. Terrible defending from Real Madrid! A long throw into the box causes mayhem, with Ivi getting in front of Carvajal and flicking a finish past Casilla. The visitors have the lead!
30’ BENZEMA INJURY? The Real Madrid striker is over at the touchline and is receiving some sort of treatment. This could be a concern for Zidane. Might he have to make a change?
35’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Levante: There's the equaliser! Real Madrid have been knocking on the door for a while and they have the breakthrough. Ramos heads towards goal from a corner and Vazquez was on hand to finish from close range.
83’ SHOT FROM ASENSIO! Lovely play from Isco and Bale creates the shooting chance for Asensio, but Raul gets down well to make the diving save. Levante are getting closer to a point.
89’ BALE SHOULD HAVE SCORED! Isco's ball into the penalty area from the byline was exceptional, with Bale rising highest inside the six yard box, but he somehow heads back across goal and wide.
90’ SENT OFF! Marcelo has been shown a red card. The Real Madrid left back appeared to kick out after taking a shot. That’s frustration from the Brazilian. This looks over for the champions now.
94’ OUTSIDE OF THE POST! Well, that was almost it. Kroos takes the shot from the edge of the box, but the German midfielder clips the outside of the post and that is probably that.
Real Madrid have now scored in their last 71 games in all competitions - the longest scoring streak ever recorded in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
Karim Benzema has had the most shots of any La Liga player without scoring this season (eight).