Marcelo goal helps troubled Real Madrid edge past Viktoria Plzen

Real Madrid won for the first time in six games but their manager still lost. If, that is, he had anything to lose. Julen Lopetegui knew before this game had begun that the club were seeking his replacement, that the same lack of alternatives and time that helped put him in the job in the first place were all that kept him in a job now. He knew too that this was not so much an opportunity as an obligation and that victory alone might not bring him any breathing room. If he didn’t, he was reminded when, with a little over ten minutes left, Patrik Horosovsky ran through and scored.

Whistles filled the air at the Bernabéu. Yes, Real were winning, but a 2-1 win against the Czech side Viktoria Plzen delivers no definitive judgement and certainly doesn’t offer any salvation for a manager under pressure. Still less for a side who had given the visitors – who were defeated 5-0 by Roma – more chances than they could have imagined on the way to a win that did not convince.

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