Madrid, Nov 7 (EFE).- Real Madrid went down to a stunning 3-2 road loss to Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas Stadium in Madrid on Monday, an encounter in which the hosts played with more intensity, grabbing 15 rebounds and never really letting Carlo Ancelotti’s men get into their groove.
It was the first loss of the season for the reigning champions.
Without Karim Benzema or Toni Kroos, the capital squad had come to Vallecas knowing that Barcelona could snatch the La Liga lead spot away from them if they didn’t get the win. Despite that, however, Madrid was simply overwhelmed by Rayo’s pressure right from the opening whistle and, almost before they knew it, they were down by a point.
Just four minutes into the action, a great play by Fran Garcia and Alvaro Garcia sent the ball to Santi Comesaña right in front of the net and he left-footed it past Thibaut Courtois for the 1-0.
But Rayo, far from resting on their laurels, kept pushing, subjecting Real Madrid to suffocating pressure that forced them to commit defensive errors, such as one by Militao at minute 13 that allowed Alvaro Garcia to go one-on-one against Courtois, who barely managed to fend off the attack.
Isi Palazon tried his luck against the Belgian goaltender twice in the first half but got no joy, and in the 35th minute Luka Modric evened things on a penalty kick after VAR resulted in the call on Fran Garcia for fouling Marco Asensio.
Up until then, Madrid’s only offensive foray had been an individual effort by Rodrygo along the left side that ended up with the shot on goal fired too high.
Modric’s tally got some wind into Madrid’s sails, however, and in just six minutes they turned the score around after a corner from Asensio that Eder Militao headed into the net after getting away from Florian Lejeune.
The capital squad’s joy was fleeting, however, as two minutes later Alvaro Garcia ended up with the ball along the left side of the area and fired a powerful blast into the twine that Courtois had no chance of stopping.
After the break, play resumed as it had at the outset, with Real Madrid dancing to the rhythm of the hosts without Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni or Fede Valverde being able to dominate their team’s efforts to create much, if any, danger for Stole Dimitrievski, in the net for Rayo.
The match moved into a new phase in the 64th minute, when Carvajal had a penalty called after VAR found he had handled the ball. Oscar Trejo fired from 11 meters and Courtois stopped it but the kick had to be repeated because Carvajal was inside the area before the shot, and on the second try in minute 67 the shooter hit pay dirt.
That goal was not seen from the sideline by Rayo manager Andoni Iraola, who had been red-carded in minute 60 for his repeated protests, just when his best players were on the pitch.
Looking to salvage the situation, Ancelotti sent in Eduardo Camavinga and Mariano Diaz but neither were able to spark anything in the final minutes, although Real Madrid could potentially have tied things up when Rodrygo nabbed a rebound only to send it over the crossbar.
With the bitter result, Real Madrid now has 32 points and is in second place on the La Liga table, ceding the top spot to Barcelona, with 34 points, while Rayo is in eighth place with 21.
Rayo Vallecano: Dimitrievski; Balliu, Catena, Lejeune, Fran García; Comesaña (Pathe Ciss, m.78), Valentin; Isi Palazon (Salvi, m.87), Trejo (Unai Lopez, m.71), Alvaro (Chavarria, m.87); and Camello (Falcao, m.87).
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal (Lucas Vazquez, m.85), Militao, Alaba, Mendy (Nacho, m.85); Tchouameni (Camavinga, m.69), Modric (Mariano, m.77), Valverde; Marco Asensio, Rodrygo and Vinicius.