Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (left) and Marcelo react after Eibar’s Sergi Enrich scored during Saturday’s 3-0 loss. It marked the first defeat for Real under Santiago Solari. (Getty)
New Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari suffered his first loss since being named manager of the Spanish titans, and it was an ugly one.
Real, which began the day sixth in La Liga, went down 3-0 at tiny Eibar on Saturday. The three-time defending Champions League winners had reversed their fortunes since Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui on Oct. 29.
Lopetegui was fired after losing 5-1 to Barcelona the previous day. Not only were Los Blancos undefeated in Solari’s first four matches, they had outscored their opponents 15-4 over that stretch. That all changed on Saturday.
Real had struggled away from home earlier this season, losing three consecutive games at one point, but were coming off three straight road wins. However, they had no answers against previously 13th place Eibar. Gonzalo Escalante opened the scoring just 16 minutes into the contest before Sergi Enrich and Kike Garcia put the match out of reach in the second half.
Solari spent the first two weeks of his Real tenure as the interim boss before being named the permanent manager on Nov. 12. His first four weeks on the job will now be regarded as a honeymoon. The club continues to miss superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sold to Italian Serie A champ Juventus over the summer without being adequately replaced.
Things won’t get any easier from here for Solari. Madrid, by far the most successful club in European history with 13 continental titles (AC Milan is second with seven), will travel to Italy to take on Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Meantime, Eibar jumped to seventh with the surprise victory with eight matches still to be played on Matchday 13.
Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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