You wont find me saying this very often, we deserved to drop points to Levante today. Even if Real Madrid had found a way to win, we wouldn't have deserved it. Period. The only word I can come up with is U G L Y, which sums it up pretty well don't you think? You'd imagine that we could get a good result when we're playing a team that has never spent three consecutive years in the top flight of Spanish football.
The pitch was tiny and rough, and at the outset--and through most of the match--los blancos dominated, holding possession 70% of the time. Too bad they didn't dominate where it counts: and that's the scoreboard. It also doesn't help that you get sucked into the trap that Levante were laying and you go down to a ten man side with 80 minutes of football left. But that was Sami Khedira's fault and he picked up a stupid second yellow in the 40th minute.
Look, Levante came out with a game plan from the outset, and they executed it pretty much flawlessly.
Their plan was to play as physical a game as they could possibly get away with--and irritate Real Madrid into stupid fouls. There were a total of 36 fouls, 20 of those for the home side. Levante were so physical they picked up seven yellow cards compared to Real Madrid's three. Of course two of those were to one player, who got sent off for being an idiot (Khedira I'm looking at you kid).
This was a Madrid side that didn't start Cristiano Ronaldo or Mesut Özil, and it showed. Ozil's slick passing was missing from the attack and it seemed that they were just a step behind all night--almost as if they were running in quicksand. Kaká, who didn't even make the 18 for the Champions League match, got a spot start in place of Mesut Ozil, and except for a brief moment where he missed a sure goal, Kaka was not to be found.
He had 42 touches on the night that amounted to really nothing. He was subbed off for Gonzalo Higuaín in the 59th minute, though Pipa was equally ineffective while on the pitch. Maybe since there's a match on Wednesday Mou was trying to get some sort of squad rotation going, which he should, as Madrid are playing multiple competitions which can cause fixture congestion.
Any time Real Madrid threatened, Levante would crowd the six yard box with at the least five players plus the goal keeper. This makes it hard for shots to get anywhere near the goal mouth. CR7 was subbed on at the half, and the offense seemed to pick up, but even subbing on Mesut Ozil in the 70th minute (and I'm surprised Mou kept him on the bench for that long) wouldn't be enough.
Once Levante netted the goal that would end up being the game winner, they shut down anything in the box. The only chances they were giving up were from range. Anything shot into the box from close range was rejected and cleared. They bunkered down and it showed; and there was no way a ten man Madrid side could crack the code.
One good thing about this match?
We've got another one coming up on Wednesday vs Racing Santander. This match is a road match, and as much as I hate to say it, we really need to pick up some points on this one. Don't need to drop 6 points in two matches, it would be really nice to get a result versus Santander.
Here are the highlights - if you can call them that.