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Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Hits and flops from the game | La Liga 2019-20

Luka Modrić reacting after Madrid went 1-0 down against Levante.
Luka Modrić reacting after Madrid went 1-0 down against Levante.
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Modified 23 Feb 2020
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With two huge games against Manchester City and FC Barcelona coming up in the span of one week, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid were dealt a huge blow as they were defeated 1-0 by Levante in the La Liga at Estadi Ciutat de València.

Overall, it was a very entertaining game to watch as Real Madrid went all guns blazing into the fixture since the kick-off whistle and Levante kept patient as they indulged in counter-attacks every now and then when Madrid lost possession.

The Los Blancos' 7 shots on target were met by an inspiring performance by Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez and just when the Granotas were about to be exposed by Madrid in the second half, a half-volley by Jose Luis Morales on the run made it 1-0 for the hosts.

It was a disappointing night for Zidane and his men as a collectively great performance was marred by individual errors which resulted in the loss of 3 points and an opportunity to go into next week's El Clasico with an advantage over Barcelona.

Here are some of the hits and flops from the game.


#5 Flop | Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

A not-so-busy but disappointing night for Thibaut Courtois
A not-so-busy but disappointing night for Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois was hardly tested for majority of the game as Madrid played almost the entire ninety minutes in the opposition half, barring a few magical moments by the hosts themselves.

Jose Luis Morales would have never expected to score from that an tight angle but the Belgian was beaten easily on the near post in what turned out to be a screamer by Morales.

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Considering the quality of the ex-Chelsea goalkeeper, he should have tucked it above the cross-bar without much difficulty. Courtois didn't have much to do for the entire game as the Galacticos controlled the game with 63% possession and the Belgian should have done better to save his team from this defeat.


#4 Hit | Jose Luis Morales (Levante)

The only goal-scorer of the night - Jose Luis Morales.
The only goal-scorer of the night - Jose Luis Morales.

The Frogs' number eleven had a night to remember as he scored with 10 minutes left on the clock to sink Real Madrid.The 32-year-old scored an absolutely stunning volley from a tight angle to beat Thibaut Courtois at the near post after he collected a cross on the run with Luka Modrić chasing.

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Apart from the goal, Morales had a very engaging night as he usually pressed quite high up the pitch. The midfielder's impact in Madrid's half compensated for him being out-of-position for majority of the match, and the Levante gaffer Paco López giving him freedom to roam around the field only benefited as he decided the game with the goal.


#3 Flop | Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

Eden Hazard limped off in the second half with an injury.
Eden Hazard limped off in the second half with an injury.

Even though Eden Hazard had the ball at his feet during many of his Madrid's counter-attacks, the lack of match fitness showed in his first touches and final passes throughout the game. He missed the biggest chance for Real Madrid when he went one-on-one with Levante goal-keeper Aitor Fernandez in the second half, just to hit a very poor shot which the stopper saved easily.

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Though Hazard was seen coming to the defenders' rescue whenever Levante were on a counter, the Belgian seemed the slowest Galactico on field in a team which was beaming to go forward on every opportunity and play a quick paced game to catch the Granotas off-guard.

The attacking midfielder limped off in the second half which might just give Zidane nightmares considering the former's importance next week as Madrid go head-to-head against Manchester City and Barcelona.


#2 Flop | Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema against Levante was off colour
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema against Levante was off colour

One of the countless regrets Zinedine Zidane might have after this game would be dropping Luka Jović off the entire match-day squad, thanks to Karim Benzema failing to spearhead the Madrid attack which lacked nothing but finishing chances.

Benzema had three great chances in the first half itself with the best one coming from an Isco through ball which the Frenchman hit poorly at the opposition goal-keeper who comfortably saved it.

In a game where Madrid's multi-Champions League winning midfield of Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco created an array of chances for the attackers to finish, Benzema couldn't get on the final ball and slot it home.

The striker has been phenomenal for the Los Blancos this season but his misfiring form against Levante might have just cost Madrid the league as Barcelona replace them as league leaders.


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#1 Hit | Aitor Fernández (Levante)

Levante stopper Aitor Fernández was the difference between the two sides tonight.
Levante stopper Aitor Fernández was the difference between the two sides tonight.

The 28-year-old keeper was in top form for the entire 90 minutes and was impossible to beat whether it was from close range or from a long distance effort. Keeping a clean sheet when Madrid went all out in attack would have been one of the biggest highlights of his career.

Aitor kept his eyes on the ball and made some great saves from efforts by Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić and Eden Hazard. Though Morales' goal proved to be the decider in the game, it was him who kept Levante in the game with his constant saves.

Great co-ordination with his defense and patience during Madrid's frustrating play-building passes near the penalty box to breach the Levante fortress proved to be key as the Frogs ended up with a memorable victory over the Spanish giants to jump up in the La Liga table to 10th with 32 points from 25 games.

What's Next:

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Real Madrid face Manchester City mid-week in the Champions League round of 16 before they tackle FC Barcelona next weekend in an El Clasico which might decide the season for either of the clubs. Both games are at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.


Also read | Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: 3 reasons why Los Blancos lost the match | La Liga 2019-20

Published 23 Feb 2020, 09:55 IST
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