Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Eden Hazard a doubt to play against Man City and in El Clasico as he limps off injured on horrid night for Zinedine Zidane’s side
- Real Madrid were frustrated on Saturday night as they fell to defeat to Levante
- A stunning finish from Jose Luis Morales meant the hosts took an unlikely lead
- Rivals Barcelona now have a slight lead at the top of the Spanish league
Eden Hazard pulled up injured as Real Madrid were beaten 1-0 by Levante just four days ahead of their Champions League last-16 first leg at home to Manchester City.
The former Chelsea forward has only just returned from almost three months out recovering from a cracked bone in his right ankle.
He has only completed five full games since joining the club and after an impressive first half he hobbled off after 61 minutes against Levante.
Zinedine Zidane talks to Eden Hazard as the Belgian continues to struggle from an injury
Levante players celebrate after Jose Luis Morales’s stunning strike with not long to go
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos barks orders to his team as they look to get a goal
Levante 4-4-2: Fernandez, Miramon, Postigo, Bruno, Tono, Morales (Martinez 81), Campana, Vukcevic, Bardhi, Marti (Melero 67), Mayoral (Leon 88)
Subs not used: Koke, Duarte, Clerc, Coke
Goals: Morales 79
Real Madrid 4-3-3: Courtois, Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric (Valverde 82), Hazard (Vinicius Jr 67), Benzema, Isco (Vasquez 67)
Subs not used: Areola, Militao, Rodriguez, Mendy
Yellows: Ramos, Casemiro
He watched the rest of the game with ice strapped to his lower right leg. Madrid supporters will hope it is not the ankle problem that kept him out for so long earlier this season.
Zidane said: ‘It doesn’t look good. He’s taken a blow on the ankle where he had his previous injury.’
With Manchester City due in Madrid on Wednesday Madrid were beaten by lowly Levante. Jose Luis Morales scored the winner thumping in a 78th minute screamer after being played onside by Raphael Varane.
Barcelona had won earlier on Saturday meaning Madrid lose top spot in LaLiga just as Pep Guardiola’s side are due to arrive in the Spanish capital.
Madrid dominated in the first half but were guilty of over-playing at times. Karim Benzema crossed with the goal in his sights instead of finishing. Luka Modric was more unselfish but his stinging shot was palmed away by Aitor Fernandez.
Hazard was the focal point of so many of Real Madrid’s attacks linking with Benzema, Marcelo and Toni Kroos. Isco was also enjoying himself although from Ramos’ glorious pass out of defence he was a fraction offside and he allowed a Levante defender to rob the ball after his first touch.
Real Madrid defender Marcelo is tackled by Levante’s forward Enis Bardhi during the match
Eden Hazard reacts in frustration after missing a chance against Levante during the game
Hazard had the last kick of the half with a cross shot that Fernandez pushed away. Madrid had laid siege to the home side’s goal with a total of 12 shots but no reward.
Buoyed by having survived the first half Levante came out fighting and Enis Bardhi went just wide with a right-foot shot. That almost sparked Madrid’s first goal but from Isco’s pass Hazard fumbled his shot with Fernandez charging out to block him.
It was a bad miss but worse was to follow when after five minutes of hobbling he limped off to be replaced by Vinicius. The injury scare had an adverse effect on Madrid who conceded a string of chances to Levante.
From one Jose Luis Morales raced down the left with a tired Luka Modric in closest pursuit. There were few options available to him so he decided just to blast the ball into the roof of Thibaut Courtois’ net.
Levante’s goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez gets up high to grab the ball under pressure
Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois react in frustration after going behind 1-0 to Levante
Moments later a last-ditch challenge from Varane prevented Borja Mayoral scoring a second. Madrid were panicked now but there could no more score with the urgency of the ticking clock than they could in the first period with the game ahead of them and in total control.
Losing the lead in the league will affect morale ahead of the City game. Losing Hazard for any length of time will also be a huge blow just as the season begins to reach its climax.
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