Girona 1-4 Real Madrid: 5 talking points
Real Madrid claim the pole position in the league for the first time in over a year after the 4-1 drubbing of Girona at Estadi Montilivi on matchday two. Having endured the first setback here last season, it was turning out to be a deja vu for the Whites after Borja Garcia put the hosts ahead after just quarter of an hour.
But they soon found equanimity and raced ahead courtesy of two penalties. Sergio Ramos first chipped in with a delightful panenka, before Karim Benzema turned the tides in the second half. Gareth Bale soon got into the action with a cheeky finish, before the Frenchman rounded off the rout with a simple tap-in.
It's two in two for Lopetegui's side, who are now ahead of rivals Barcelona on goal difference. But there's plenty for this side to address before even thinking of going all the way in the league this time.
Here are the major talking points:
#1 Madrid's shambolic defence still unchecked
Let me cut the unsettled Lopetegui some slack and bring to the table the most pressing concern: defence (well, he knows that. So take my words with a pinch of salt). Real Madrid's perennially leaky defence was once again laid bare by a spirited Girona side and it could've been worse had it not been for the home side's profligacy or lack of a finishing touch.
Every time the Blanquivermell forayed into the box, it ensured a kamikaze-like chaos. The defence was all over the place and with no communication whatsoever. The Marcelo's flank in particular, especially in the first half, was exploited to the hilt by Portu and Pere Pons with their buccaneering runs into the area before laying some good crosses. The first goal was a perfect example of the same. Even if the ball came off Ramos, Garcia had all the space and time in the world to adjust himself and place a shot into the roof of the net.
Even if there was no goals thereafter, Girona continued to make mincemeat of the Madrid's backline with slick passes and intelligent runs. On one occasion, it was only Carvajal's intervention just on the line that prevented the hosts from doubling their lead, while striker Lozano took a heavy touch from a stone's throw distance and gave Madrid another lifeline.
One of the glaring issues to emerge out of the 4-2 loss to Atletico Madrid in the Supercup was the shambolic defending and acres of space left for them to exploit. Girona were the beneficiaries of the same today, but lacked the cutting edge to bury the chances. However, it's another wake-up call for Lopetegui and co.