EIBAR, Spain (AP) — Santiago Solari’s first game as Real Madrid’s full-time coach was one to forget.
After leading Madrid to four straight victories as interim manager, Solari saw his team lose 3-0 at Eibar in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The loss — Madrid’s first-ever defeat against the Basque Country club — halted the team’s recovery from a series of poor results under former coach Julen Lopetegui, who was fired.
Madrid is sixth in the standings after 13 games. It could have moved one point behind leader Barcelona ahead of its rival’s match at Atletico Madrid later Saturday.
“We admit that we didn’t play well,” Solari said. “We have to work to improve and to correct our mistakes. It was a tough loss, we didn’t expect it.”
Solari was given a permanent contract before the international break after replacing Lopetegui. He revamped the squad and put it back on track in the Spanish league and the Champions League, quickly gaining fans’ approval. The former midfielder was picked among candidates that reportedly included Antonio Conte and Roberto Martinez.
Madrid had outscored opponents 15-2 in the four wins under Solari, who took over with the team ninth in the league. Madrid’s last game under Lopetegui was a 5-1 loss at Barcelona.
Saturday’s defeat left Madrid with one of the league’s worst defenses with 19 goals conceded. Only three teams have conceded more than Madrid — Celta Vigo, Rayo Vallecano and last-place Huesca.
Eibar moved two points behind Madrid after its second win in three matches.
“We scored three goals against one of the best teams in the world,” Sergi Enrich said. “We’ve been after this victory for a long time and now we’ve got it.”
The hosts opened the scoring through Gonzalo Escalante after a quick counterattack in the 16th minute. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made an initial save but Escalante got to the loose ball and easily found the net from close range. The goal was confirmed by video review.
Enrich added to the lead early in the second half after a defensive mistake by Madrid right back Alvaro Odriozola, who had the ball stolen from him near the area in the play that led to the goal. Kike Garcia got the third five minutes later after Madrid’s defense again couldn’t clear a ball crossed into the area at Ipurua Stadium.
Madrid’s next game is at Roma on Tuesday. The two sides lead Group G in the Champions League.
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