• Real Madrid loses again after its worst scoring drought

    By: TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer

    Updated:
    MADRID (AP) - Without Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in nearly a decade, Real Madrid reached the worst scoring drought in its history.

    Madrid went more than 465 minutes without finding the net in a 2-1 home loss to Levante in the Spanish league on Saturday, leaving new coach Julen Lopetegui under heavy pressure a week before the "clasico" against Barcelona.

    Lopetegui's team had entered the game amid its worst scoreless streak since 1985.

    Marcelo ended the streak in the second half at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, but the negative milestone had already been set, coming three months after Ronaldo left to join Juventus.

    Madrid hadn't scored in four straight matches, and its winless streak is now at five games. It has lost four of its last five matches, including the last three.

    Madrid fans jeered the team and Lopetegui, the former Spain manager who arrived to replace Zinedine Zidane after being fired two days before the World Cup.

    "(My job) is the last thing I'm thinking about right now," Lopetegui said. "We have to figure out what we've been doing wrong. We need to change this dynamic. The ball is not going in. But we have done a lot of good things, we have to keep trying."

    Levante entered the game with the league's third-worst defense after conceding 14 goals in eight matches. It scored early on Saturday with goals by Jose Luis Morales in the sixth minute and Roger in the 13th after a penalty awarded following a video review. Marcelo pulled one back in the 72nd.

    Madrid, which began the match without Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema who are coming off injuries, created many chances but was unable to break through the Levante defense.

    Lopetegui started with Mariano Diaz and Lucas Vazquez in the attack, with Bale and Benzema entering the match in the second half but not being able to help much.

    Madrid struck the woodwork three times and had a goal by Diaz disallowed for offside in the final minutes. Marco Asensio also had a first-half goal disallowed by VAR.

    Madrid finished with 70 percent possession and more than 30 attempts.

    The result left Madrid fifth and in danger of dropping further down by the end of the weekend's round.

    Its slump began with a demoralizing 3-0 loss at Sevilla, then it was held by Atletico Madrid to a 0-0 draw at home in the city derby, lost 1-0 at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and was beaten 1-0 at Alaves to drop to fifth in the league standings.

    Madrid hosts Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday in the Champions League, then visits Barcelona on Sunday.

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    Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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