Real Madrid’s struggles in the Spanish league continued as city rivals Atletico moved level with leaders Real Sociedad after extending their winning run to six matches.

Alaves' Spanish midfielder Borja Sainz (L) vies with Real Madrid's Spanish defender Nacho Fernandez at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, on November 28, 2020.
Alaves' Spanish midfielder Borja Sainz (L) vies with Real Madrid's Spanish defender Nacho Fernandez at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, on November 28, 2020. (AFP)

Faltering La Liga champions Real Madrid have slid to a shock 2-1 home defeat by Alaves as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a catastrophic error and record signing Eden Hazard suffered yet another injury.

Lucas Perez gave Alaves the lead in the fifth minute from the penalty spot after a handball from Nacho, the fifth penalty that Madrid have conceded in the league in three matches.

Hazard wasted a chance to equalise when he fired straight at Alaves keeper Fernando Pacheco and then had a penalty appeal waved away before hobbling off with a muscle injury in the 28th minute.

Former Madrid youth player Joselu made the most of a gift from Courtois to double Alaves's lead early in the second half, unexpectedly receiving a stray pass from the Belgian outside the area and slotting into the empty net.

Casemiro pulled back a goal for Madrid in the 86th minute from close range while Isco almost found an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time but his shot bounced off the crossbar and Madrid had to swallow a third defeat in 10 league games.

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"Keep on fighting"

"Alaves made a much better start than us and if you don't score you pay for it as this is the toughest league in the world and every opponent has quality," Real midfielder Casemiro said.

"This is a very different season from most, all the big teams are dropping points but we have to keep working and try to do better. At least we kept trying until the end today.

"Our pre-season campaign was not good and we have almost no time to work because there are so many games.

But we need to keep on fighting as there's still a long way to go."

Madrid were lifted by a commanding 2-0 victory away to Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday but were still missing six players, including captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema, their two top scorers last season.

Zidane decided to rotate first-choice left back Ferland Mendy and give another chance to veteran Marcelo, who struggled in the 4-1 defeat by Valencia three weeks ago.

But the move backfired yet again as Real suffered their 10th league defeat since Zidane returned to the club in March 2019.

A Diego Maradona jersey was put alongside the Real Madrid reserve players, and a moment of silence was observed before the match as a tribute to the Argentina great who died this week.

Atletico go level with Sociedad

Earlier in the day, Atletico edged a tight contest at Valencia 1-0 that stretched their unbeaten league run to 25 matches.

They stay second but are equal on 23 points with Sociedad with a game in hand thanks to Toni Lato's own goal 11 minutes from time.

Stingy Atletico have conceded just twice in their nine league matches so far this season and have only scored two less than La Liga top scorers Sociedad, who host third-placed Villarreal on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane's side are fourth in the standings on 17 points after 10 games, six below leaders Real Sociedad and second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Alaves climbed up to ninth on 13.

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Source: Reuters