Real Madrid was given a wake-up call when Real Sociedad orchestrated a come-from-behind victory to beat the Carlo Ancelotti’s side, 4-2, even though the high-spending La Liga squad had captured a two-goal lead early on, destined to meet the odds with a win.
Real has seen change this season from a personnel viewpoint. Angel Di Maria left for Manchester United and Xabi Alonso exited to the Bundesliga to play for Bayern Munich, two men who had been apart of Real’s winning ways in the past few years. Toni Kroos and young World Cup star James Rodriquez both appeared in the match for Madrid, but Cristiano Ronaldo was sidelined with injury issues.
Regardless, the outcome wasn’t in Ancelotti’s plans, and he vowed that certain aspects of their performance must see modification, and most importantly, individual men on the pitch can’t exist as the source of Real’s problems.
“This defeat does not change anything,” Ancelotti said, through ESPN FC. “What needs to change is our attitude and concentration in these type of games. At 2-0 you must show concentration to see out the game. Something has to change, and it will change.
“This is not a problem of missing one player, it is about the team losing things after going 2-0 up,” Ancelotti said. “It was not about Xabi Alonso being there or not. It is a more general thing. When the team does not have a good attitude it is difficult to change that with just one player.”
There was a massive difference between one half and the next for Ancelotti–the quick two goal lead and the sudden collapse showing where Los Blancos went wrong.
“It is not easy to evaluate this game as there were two,” he said. “The first half hour was very good, with good concentration. The other hour was very bad. We thought the game was over. We are hurting a lot, I am hurting a lot.”
The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.
Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.
USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore
Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski
Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.
[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]
The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.
The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.
Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.
T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.
Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.
Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.
France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.
Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.
[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]
Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):
At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.
When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.
What do you think?