Real Madrid’s title hopes took a big hit on Saturday as an early Eder Militao red card led to a 2-1 defeat to Levante at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.
The Brazilian defender was sent off for clipping Sergio Leon from behind before the clock had even reached double-digits, but a Marco Asensio goal suggested that the hosts could hang on. Levante would find their way back though, as a Jose Luis Morales goal later in the first half and a Roger Marti strike in the second half earned the visitors the three points.
Madrid are now seven points back of league leaders Atletico, with Los Colchoneros owning two games in hand.
Manager Zinedine Zidane was still absent due to Covid, so trusted assistant David Bettoni was the lead man on the bench, however with no Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Nacho, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo, some line-up shuffling was in order. That meant Adrian Odriozola enjoyed a rare start at right-back, Militao at centre back, while Asensio and Eden Hazard joined Karim Benzema up top.
Inside the first ten minutes, things took a turn for the worse for the home side when a Levante counter-attack saw Militao take down Sergio Leon from behind just outside the area. The Levante attacker was clearly in on goal and had just goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to beat, and after initially being shown yellow, the Brazilian defender was sent off with a straight red courtesy of VAR