Real Madrid Offense Hasn’t Been This Futile in More Than 30 Years


Real Madrid has not struggled this much to score a goal in more than three decades.

A last-gasp goal by host Alavès dealt Real Madrid, the European champion, a 1-0 defeat in La Liga on Saturday, extending Madrid’s scoring drought to four straight games — almost seven hours of game time 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 Cristiano Ronaldo.

Madrid has one win in its last five Liga matches, and has gone four matches in all competitions without a victory.

“We coaches are exposed to these situations, but we just think about how we can keep working,” Lopetegui said. “We are in October. It is not a good situation, but 10 days ago, it was.”

The team’s fortunes have taken a drastic turn since it beat Roma, 3-0, in the Champions League less than two weeks ago. Before Saturday, Madrid lost at Sevilla, 3-0, drew with Atlètico Madrid, 0-0, and fell at CSKA Moscow, 1-0.

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, with the team “fighting for position at the top of the table.”

He added, “We have to remain calm and try to break this streak.”

Amid its drought, Madrid is also dealing with health issues. Forwards Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema had to be substituted during Saturday’s game because of unspecified injuries that Lopetegui said “greatly limited what we could do.”

The team was already without the injured backs Marcelo and Dani Carvajal, and Isco is still recovering from surgery for appendicitis.

After an international break, Madrid next plays at home against Levante on Oct. 20. It then hosts Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League before visiting Barcelona on Oct. 28.

The Alavès substitute Manu Garcìa 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 game.

Alavès had not had a Liga victory over Madrid at home since the 1930-31 season.

To make the victory even sweeter, Alavès rose into a tie with with Madrid and Barcelona atop the league standings. Alavès, a small club from the northern Basque Country coached by Abelardo Fernandez, has lost only twice through eight games.

“This is going to be one of the best days of my career,” Garcìa, a midfielder and team captain, said. “I am very proud.”

Source : NYtimes