Alavés make history as Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid crisis deepens 3 years ago

Alavés make history as Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid crisis deepens

For supporters of Deportivo Alavés, this moment had been a long time coming. 87 years, to be precise.

A last-gasp winner from Manu García was enough for their side to snatch all three points against the mighty Real Madrid on Saturday evening - a victory which brought to an end Los Blancos' near nine-decade unbeaten streak at the Mendizorrotza Stadium.


Although it would be hard to argue that Alavés were good value for their win, their consistently resolute and well-organised defending meant this was a game they definitely did not deserve to lose.

The match played in drizzly, typically Basque conditions, Real dominated possession but did little with it. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos both struggled to find the kind of rhythm we have become accustomed to seeing from them, neither able to craft anything resembling a clear-cut opportunity for any of their teammates.

Ahead of them, Gareth Bale was largely anonymous throughout the game; Karim Benzema more so. The French striker, expected by many to benefit from Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus  in the summer, looked well short of his best and and was deservedly replaced by Mariano at half-time. The substitute also struggled to make an impression in what was another worryingly toothless attacking display from Real.

This was a night that only adds to the feeling that Julen Lopetegui's days as manager at the Bernabéu are already numbered. The manager looked on sullenly from the Real bench as his side crashed to a third defeat in their last four outings. Having failed to find a goal against Alavés, they have now gone over 400 minutes without scoring - their worst run since April 1985. Though replacing the club's all-time record goalscorer was never going to be a simple task, the apparent regression of some of their other forwards since the close of last season is an obvious cause for alarm. Reports in the Spanish press that Florentino Perez is already considering a change in manager hardly come as a surprise.


Though most of the fallout after the game has centred on Lopetegui and what the future holds for Real, the significance of this result for Alavés should not be forgotten.

The Vitoria-based club may not be able to match the following and reputation of Basque neighbours Athletic Club and Real Sociedad, but the passion of their supporters at the Mendizorrotza on Saturday was on a par with anything seen in Bilbao or San Sebastián.

Alavés' fans were raucous for the entirety of the game - most notably those gathered in the stand behind the goal in which Manu scored the winner. The scenes of wild celebration which greeted it went on beyond the full-time whistle, supporters remaining in position long after the game had ended, continuing to savour every last moment.

Nights such as this one rarely come along for clubs of this size. When they do, they are not forgotten. Though they may have had to wait since 1931 for a victory over Real on their own turf, the memory of this one will live long in the memory of those there to witness it.