Dani Carvajal conceded a penalty to allow Elche to return to the game as Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw.
Luka Modric scored his third league goal of the season to put Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead after 20 minutes as Madrid attacked freely while leaving dangerous gaps behind.
Elche created plenty of good chances before equalizing from the penalty spot, Fidel converting after Dani Carvajal’s flagrant foul on Antonio Barragan.
The result put a damper on the feel-good factor Zidane had managed to generate around his club after bouncing back from a slow start to the season with Atletico breaking a two point lead at the top. Getafe 1-0 earlier Wednesday.
Toni Kroos was narrowly leading 10 meters wide in the third minute as Madrid started off brilliantly, but it wasn’t long before Thibaut Courtois – making his 100th appearance for the club – had to come down smart to ward off Emiliano Rigoni’s fierce drive. away from his neat corner.
The game rocked from start to finish and Marcelo rocked the crossbar with a raucous half volley from the edge of Elche’s box in the 13th minute.
Moments later, Modric gave Madrid the lead, sending a header into the upper right corner after Edgar Badia put Marco Asensio’s thunderous shot back on the crossbar.
Madrid were awarded a penalty only for VAR to show the ball hit Ivan Marcone’s leg and not his hand, and six minutes into the second half, Elche won a kick when Carvajal brought down Antonio Barragan.
6 – Real Madrid have conceded six penalties in their last nine La Liga games, as many as they had in their previous 65 appearances in the competition. Vigilance. pic.twitter.com/LhQ2g02WzE
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 30, 2020
Fidel buried the penalty in the lower left corner of the net and 10 minutes later Lucas Boye grazed the outside of the post with a low shot from the edge of the Madrid area.
Boye shot high and wide when he broke into Madrid’s defenders again and Carvajal missed an opportunity to right his mistake when Badia saved his effort at close range on the clock.
Eden Hazard’s return missed the only opening that came his way and Carvajal conceded a stoppage free kick on which Gonzalo Verdu took a nice save from Courtois, who parried the last kick of the match to make sure the points were shared.
What does it mean? More room for complacency in Madrid
Jorge Almiron’s side, who could climb to ninth place if they win their game in hand, may be winless in their last nine La Liga appearances, but this was the first time in nine top-level encounters with Madrid that they managed to avoid defeat.
Modric makes Madrid vibrate
Modric’s return restored fluidity to Madrid’s attacking play, and he contributed to two efforts on goal – including the one that came in – as well as making the third-highest number of touches of any player. .
As well as conceding the penalty awkwardly, Carvajal struggled to cope with the threat from Fidel and Boye, conceding possession 18 times – more than any other player on the pitch.
Elche’s first game in 2021 sees them travel to Athletic on Sunday, while Madrid are in home action against Celta Vigo a day earlier.