Mon, Sep 17, 2012 - Page 18 News List

BBVA: Real slump to worst start since 2001

‘SAD’ START TO SEASON:The reigning champions lost 1-0 at Sevilla and they already find themselves eight points behind archrivals Barcelona, who triumphed 4-1 at Getafe

AFP, MADRID

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, bottom, reacts next to Sevilla’s Fernando Navarro in their La Liga match in Seville, Spain, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Real Madrid slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Sevilla on Saturday as Jose Mourinho’s defending champions suffered a second defeat in four matches, their worst start to a La Liga season in over a decade.

Piotr Trochowski got the only goal for Sevilla as Real’s haul of just four points so far condemned the Spanish giants to their most damaging opening since the 2001-2002 season.

Real are also eight points behind rivals Barcelona, who won 4-1 at Getafe to retain their 100 percent record.

Trochowski grabbed the winner when the German international was quickest to react to a corner after just two minutes.

“Right now, I have no team. We are a team without concentration,” Mourinho said. “At halftime, I changed two players and wanted to change six.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, who was the center of attention in the buildup to the game after claiming he was unhappy in the Spanish capital, produced two saves from Andres Palop after 10 minutes and another from a tight angle before halftime.

Jesus Navas and Cicinho combined well on the right, and with Alvaro Negredo bravely leading the attack for Sevilla, the home side always looked dangerous on the counterattack.

Mourinho showed his discontent by ordering his substitutes to warm up on the half-hour mark.

Luka Modric and Karim Benzema replaced Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil at the interval in an attempt to change the game.

The summer signing from Tottenham Hotspur, Modric, produced a spectacular save from Palop on 52 minutes, but a minute later Negredo should have doubled Sevilla’s lead.

Sergio Ramos then headed a difficult ball over the bar from almost on the goal-line and with 25 minutes remaining Mourinho made his final change, replacing Alvaro Arbeloa with Jose Callejon.

Fernando Navarro made a last-gasp tackle to deny Ronaldo, whose face failed to hide his frustration.

Barcelona made it four wins in four games with their victory at Getafe.

Brazilian fullback Adriano grabbed an early lead for Barca, before Lionel Messi left the bench to grab a double and make it six league goals for the season and assure the points for the Catalan side.

Pablo Sarabia got a late consolation for the home side, before the recovering David Villa also came off the bench to claim his second of the season.

Barca coach Tito Vilanova was happy with the result, but concerned about Carles Puyol, who limped off in the second half, just four days before the visit of Spartak Moscow in Barca’s opening UEFA Champions League fixture.

“The most important thing is we have 12 points from 12, we tried to control the game and we could have scored a few more. We’ll see tomorrow how long Puyol will be out, it’s a problem, he gives us a lot of organization at the back and is very important for us,” the coach said.

Vilanova decided to rest Messi, leaving the Argentine to start from the bench for the first time in just over a year.

Cesc Fabregas made a probing run from deep on 32 minutes, before stabbing the ball into the path of Adriano, who needed only one touch to grab his second goal in two games for the opener.

Messi appeared with 30 minutes remaining to slot home a penalty on 74 minutes after Juan Valera had tripped Pedro Rodriguez.

Four minutes later, Messi was on hand to finish a cross from Martin Montoya, before Villa rounded off a straightforward victory.

Malaga beat Levante UD 3-1 to record their best ever start to a La Liga season with 10 points from four games to stay two points behind Barca in second position.

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