Is Real Madrid’s confidence showing cracks?

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Real Madrid lost to Rayo Vallecano for the first time this LaLiga season as the underdog team shocked the league leaders 3-2. With just one game remaining before the close to two-month World Cup break, the setback also allows Barcelona to overtake Madrid at the top of the league standings. For sports betting casinos check out our listed pages.

Santi Comesana, a midfielder for Rayo, scored the game’s first goal five minutes into the contest, but Luka Modric’s penalty conversion and Eder Militao’s header gave Real the lead after just four minutes.

Alvaro Garcia, a forward for Rayo, managed to scramble in the equalizer shortly before halftime. After defender Dani Carvajal committed a handball inside the penalty area in the 67th minute, they went on to win the game. Oscar Trejo’s shot was stopped by Real’s Thibaut Courtois, but the kick had to be retaken because Carvajal was called for encroaching by the referee.

Trejo didn’t squander his second opportunity, finishing neatly to the left of the goalkeeper to score what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

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With 34 points, Barcelona is in first place, two points clear of Real Madrid and ten points ahead of Atletico Madrid in third. Rayo improved to eighth place after their third straight victory, two points off of the European qualification slots.

Madrid keeps dropping points, which currently costs them their top spot in La Liga. At the boisterous Estadio de Vallecas against a Rayo Vallecano club that was furiously aggressive and well-drilled, this was never going to be an easy night for Real Madrid, and the game was every bit as erratic and unpredictable as the LaLiga champions would have anticipated. With just one game left before the World Cup break, Madrid is now two points behind Barcelona at the top of the standings after a 3-2 loss, which follows a 1-1 draw with Girona last weekend.

Santi Comesana scored Madrid’s first LaLiga goal of the game in the fifth minute, making for an awful start for Madrid. Even though they took the lead in the first half thanks to a header from Eder Militao and a penalty from Luka Modric, they never really seemed at ease or in complete control. Before halftime, Alvaro Garcia scored a justifiable equalizer, so it wasn’t all that shocking when Rayo captain Oscar Trejo, at the second attempt, beat Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot. Casino Banner

Now, a victory and strong performance against Cadiz at the Bernabeu on Thursday are essential. Any less will cause further questions to surface, and with seven weeks until LaLiga’s return after Christmas, they will have plenty of time to do so.

Since Karim Benzema has been out so frequently this season, Vinicius Junior has taken center stage in Madrid’s attack, earning accolades for his constant match-winning and influential performances. One word of warning, though: there are worries that the Brazilian international is becoming overly prone to getting sidetracked by pointless arguments with opponents.

There was the well-publicized incident earlier this season when Vinicius’ showboating angered Mallorca’s players and coaching staff, which felt unfair at the time. However, there has also been a growing perception that the 22-year-old forward can be provoked to the point where it starts to impair his focus and effectiveness on the field.

In the eleventh minute, he was penalized for a challenge and reacted so passionately that referee Juan Martinez Munuera had to speak with Carlo Ancelotti, who then ordered Vinicius to cool up. Along the way, Rayo continued to challenge him harshly.

The winger must learn to anticipate such treatment because he is so brilliant and vital to Madrid’s future. Vinicius must remain laser-focused on punishing opponents where he can harm them the most: by scoring goals and winning games. Referees must safeguard him appropriately.

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The flying tandem on Rayo’s left-hand side, consisting of Fran Garcia at full-back and Alvaro Garcia on the wing, has helped the team become one of LaLiga’s most enjoyable to watch. Fran, 23, a graduate of the Real Madrid academy, had a memorable night when playing his previous squad. He set up Rayo’s first goal by crossing for Comesana to score, and it was unfortunate that he gave up the penalty that brought Modric even at 1-1.

Garcia nudged Fede Valverde to start the second half. Later, Garcia nearly put Rayo ahead with a long-range drive, but Thibaut Courtois deflected it over the crossbar. Overall, he was a headache for Dani Carvajal and Valverde to cope with since he was a persistent, roving presence. When Madrid allowed Garcia to sign with Rayo, they kept 50% of his rights and thought about bringing him back as Marcelo’s replacement in the summer.

Overall, Madrid has been an interesting case study this season. Even though Karim Benzema won the Ballon Dor and Madrid won the Champions League last season, there still seems to be uncertainty within the squad and their approach to games.

Author: Bobby Parker