Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtios and the Video Assistant Referee have all been subjected to criticism for their inefficiency in Real Madrid's defeat to Levante on Saturday. A lone-goal by Jose Luis Morales was enough to condemn Zinedine Zidane side to its first La Liga loss since October, a result that has seen the them lose the top-spot position to rivals Barcelona.
In an intense game in which chances were aplenty, Real Madrid uncharacteristically misfired and was made to pay the ultimate price at the end. With barely 10 minutes for proceedings to conclude, Levante striker Luis Morales bagged a surprise victory for the hosts with a sensational first-time shot from a tight angle to beat Thibaut Courtois at the near post.
In essence, the night's result saw the Merengues extend their poor run of form as they have now lost to Levante, drawn to Celta Vigo, and been knocked out of the Copa by Real Sociedad in the past two weeks. With Barcelona securing a 5-0 win over Eibar earlier in the day, the Catalans have now assumed a two-point lead atop the league table a week before El Clasico.
Meanwhile, Karim Benzema and his teammate Thibaut have not been spared in what was an atypical display from Zinedine Zidane's side. Similarly, VAR was ascribed a fair share of blame after apparently failing to award two penalties in favor of the visitors. Below are a few reactions from fans:
VAR not being used in LaLiga in the VAR era. ROBBED again & again. pic.twitter.com/QQVvwaXu6c— MAJ (@Ultra_Suristic) February 22, 2020
Levante - Real Madrid thoughts:— BlancoTalks (@BlancoTalks) February 22, 2020
-The team is falling through.
-Hazard over-protection was for nothing.
-No hunger at all.
-Benzema should see the bench.
-Courtois big mistake at the goal.
-Zidane is not at fault.
-Don't see what we can do to improve this.
2 (!!!!) handballs in the box VAR refuse to call for Real Madrid ... pic.twitter.com/FQJVdWiUBc— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) February 22, 2020
Karim Benzema vs Levante Highlights| Greatest striker in the world?| The Next R9?| Generational talent pic.twitter.com/CQ3SATZAbO— Ali (@TheCasemiroGuy) February 22, 2020
isn't it funny how VAR doesn't work when real madrid plays such a coincidence— sully (@danifuIi) February 22, 2020
It's Jović's time. Benzema isn't performing, we did not buy one of the best strikers in the world from last season to bench him. Jović needs to push for more games to start and eventually do what Valverde managed to do. If he continues to score goals you simply can't bench him. pic.twitter.com/8XLqrPrx67— Ahhe (@LukaJovic18i) February 22, 2020
BTW, VAR doesn't work when it's Real Madrid.— CV Writer | LinkedIn Page Optimizer (@LOrenztweets) February 22, 2020
This loss is on our attack. Nothing on Zidane or rest of the team. Benzema should have scored 4 and Hazard should have scored 2.— N (@asensiones) February 22, 2020
Thibaut Courtois has single handedly given Barçelona the trophy.— Frankie Ifop (@Frankie_Ifop) February 22, 2020
Ter Stegen and Courtois have one thing in common— Kay (@Kaypoisson1) February 22, 2020
They both help Barcelona stay on top of the league..
Courtois near post. pic.twitter.com/LMPoC34V6T— #BoardOut-Daily (@EmenaIo) February 22, 2020