LaLiga Report: Real Madrid v Levante 20 October 2018

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“He Will Pay with His Job”, Former Real Madrid Star On Lopetegui

Real were in dire need of a win after losing to CSKA Moscow and Alaves in their last two games and they were boosted by the return of influential figures Isco and Marcelo although Gareth Bale could only start on the bench after recovering from injury.

Lopetegui arrived at Los Blancos as Zinedine Zidane successor with major controversy surrounding his appointment on the eve of Spain's 2018 World Cup campiagn.

In a frantic period, Madrid thought they had one back when Marco Asensio headed in from under the bar after Casemiro's aerial effort smashed off the woodwork, but another long VAR review denied the hosts due to offside.

Marcelo pulled one back - but only after Real had surpassed their previous highest benchmark of 465 minutes without scoring - but it was to no avail, with this setback ramping up the pressure on Lopetegui ahead of next week's El Clasico at Barcelona. That derby could well be Lopetegui's final opportunity to impress and showcase improvement. Club president Florentino Perez moved to try and negotiate with the former Italy boss last summer, but failed. We're anxious about Levante and ourselves, like who's fit and who isn't - the rest is not in my control, so I try not to take too much notice.

First, Real Madrid must pit their wits against Levante.

It got worse as Varane handled a bouncing ball on the edge of the area but as Madrid's wall waited, Guillermo Cuadra refused to allow the free-kick to be taken.

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Real Madrid are now going through the longest goal drought in their decorated history after failing to score against Levante in the opening ten minutes of the second-half.

After Levante, who scored twice through Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti's penalty, Madrid play Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday and then Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday.

Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has departed the club, the burden has been shared between the wealth of attacking talent who remain but they have been struggling to hit the mark.

The German World Cup victor has anchored the Real midfield to three consecutive Champions League titles, but he has hinted at being unhappy with his role in new manager Julen Lopetegui's system.

Seven games without a goal have seen calls grow louder for Mariano Diaz to be given a chance and Lopetegui may now be able to oblige, without the unwanted dig at the Frenchman's confidence.

The Sun claimed yesterday that former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had been contacted as a potential replacement for Lopetegui.

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