Real Madrid lost its first league game of the season as coach Zinedine Zidane’s reboot of the club continues to malfunction.
Despite missing a number of star players, his side was the heavy favorite going into Saturday’s match against newly-promoted Mallorca, but was given a rude awakening as the league minnows held on for a shock 1-0 win.
Lago Junior scored the game’s only goal as Real Madrid was forced to play the closing stages with 10 men after Alvaro Odriozola was sent off for two bookable offenses.
New signing Eden Hazard missed the match after the birth of his child and the likes of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were absent through injury.
Despite this being Real’s first domestic loss, Zinedine’s team has failed to impress this season and is yet to win a game in this year’s UEFA Champions League group stages.
“The problem is that we have to show every three days that we’re good. That’s the difficulty. We don’t do it,” Zidane said after the match.
“I won’t say that I’m worried because I don’t like the word, but if we want to win something this season, we need consistency.”
Messi and co. shine
The defeat means Los Blancos slip to second in La Liga with fierce rival Barcelona overtaking them at the top with a victory against Eibar.
The Catalans have now won five consecutive matches in all competitions after a difficult start to the season, but the team’s front three were all in good form Saturday.
New signing Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring before the magical Lionel Messi added a second. Luis Suarez wrapped up proceedings after a turbulent week for the Catalan region.
The away win comes days after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) postponed El Clasico — the match Barcelona and Real Madrid later this month at the Camp Nou — due to the ongoing protests.
“In the end, the top players always end up playing well together and learn how they need to play to get the best out of each other,” Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said, speaking about his front three.
“They participated a lot and worked very well together and today we got what we deserved.”
Ronaldo on target again
Meanwhile, in Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand to help Juventus extend its lead at the top of Serie A.
The Portuguese forward scored his side’s opening goal as it beat Bologna 2-1 but credit went to veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for a wonderful late save which denied Federico Santander from scoring a stunning overhead effort with seconds remaining.
Before the match, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli presented Ronaldo with a shirt to mark the 700 goals he’s scored throughout his glittering career.
To celebrate, the 34-year-old lashed home a superb low shot after finding space with a trademark step over.
Keeping Juventus honest at the top of the league is Inter Milan, which beat Sassuolo 4-3 in an entertaining match.
Former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku was on target twice for Antonio Conte’s side which stay within just one point behind the reigning champion.
In Germany, only two points separate the top nine teams in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach still the surprise leader after eight games.
It had the chance to extend its lead even further on Saturday but opponents Borussia Dortmund held on for a vital 1-0 win which cut the gap at the top of the table to just one point.
After an inconsistent start to the season, Dortmund moves up into fourth with German giants Bayern Munich ahead on goal difference in third.
Bayern was denied all three points on Saturday after Augsburg netted a added-time equalizer against the reigning champion.
… not forgetting Sweden
It may not be full of superstars but the Swedish top flight is not short of entertainment.
With just two games remaining, only goal difference separates the four teams at the top of the league.
Hammarby is the current leader after it beat second placed Malmo 2-0 on Sunday, but AIK Fotboll and Djurgarden are making this year’s title race something to behold.