By Rik Sharma
MADRID (Reuters) – Rampant Eibar humiliated European champions Real Madrid with an emphatic 3-0 win in La Liga on Saturday thanks to strikes from Gonzalo Escalante, Sergi Enrich and Kike Garcia.
Santiago Solari’s first game as permanent coach of Madrid ended in his first defeat, after four consecutive victories during his time as interim manager.
On-loan Barcelona defender Marc Cucurella played a part in each of Eibar’s goals as they tore apart Madrid’s fragile defence and the Basques would have added to their tally but for some fine saves by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Eibar’s first ever win over Real Madrid takes them provisionally seventh on 18 points, two behind struggling Real in sixth.
“Eibar played their game, direct, taking advantage of the loose balls; we lost our battles,” said Madrid defender Raphael Varane.
“Collectively we weren’t well positioned, we were not comfortable and we did not find solutions.”
A lively start at Ipurua saw Belgian Courtois tip Kike’s vicious effort on to the post, while Karim Benzema had a shot cleared off the line by Cote.
Eibar took the lead after 16 minutes at the end of a brilliant break, with Cucurella finding Kike, who was denied by Courtois but Escalante bundled home the rebound from close range.
Cucurella, deployed on the left wing by Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar, is shining during his loan spell and was impossible for Madrid to handle.
The Catalan won back the ball from Alvaro Odriozola for the second goal, crossing to find Sergi Enrich who slotted home in the 52nd minute.
With Madrid on the ropes Eibar added a third goal five minutes later, Cucurella again crossing for Enrich who nudged the ball into Kike’s path and the striker gleefully slammed it home.
Eibar had chances to extend their lead and pile further misery on Madrid, with Fabian Orellana forcing a smart save from Courtois and Kike volleying narrowly wide.
Madrid have lost five games in La Liga this season and leaders Barcelona have the chance to move seven clear of their rivals when they face third-place Atletico Madrid later on Saturday.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; editing by Clare Fallon)