December 8, 2021

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Hazard limps off again as Courtois howler costs Real Madrid

2 min read

Thibaut Courtois made a costly mistake and Eden Hazard sustained yet another injury as Real Madrid suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Alaves.

Zinedine Zidane rotated his squad on the back of the impressive Champions League victory over Inter Milan during the week, with Mariano Diaz picked to lead the line after a goal-scoring display against Villarreal last weekend.

It took the visitors just five minutes to find the back of the net, with Alaves awarded a spot-kick for a handball by Nacho. Lucas Perez converted from 12 yards out, finding the corner of the net beyond Courtois’ reach.

Real Madrid were dealt another blow on the half-hour mark when Zidane was forced to withdraw Hazard due to injury, with Rodrygo introduced in the place of the luckless Belgian who has featured in just 15 games for Los Blancos in the last 12 months.

Alaves were gifted a second just four minutes into the second half when Courtois played a back pass out to Joselu and the Alaves forward struck a first-time finish into the empty net as Real Madrid dug an even deeper hole for themselves.

Zidane made a number of changes in the second half, with Martin Odegaard, Isco, Vinicius Junior and Ferland Mendy all introduced, and Casemiro scored with four minutes remaining to give Real Madrid a lifeline.

Alaves held on for three points, though, clinching the win their overall performance warranted. The result keeps Real Madrid six points off Real Sociedad at the top of La Liga and will intensify the questioning of Zidane over his side’s inconsistent form this season.

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