Rayo Vallecano hands Real Madrid first Spanish league loss

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid failed to regain the Spanish league lead after falling at Rayo Vallecano 3-2 in its first league loss on Monday.

Madrid’s second defeat in all competitions left the defending champion two points behind Barcelona.

Madrid won 15 of its first 19 games this season, with three draws and a lone loss at Leipzig in the group stage of the Champions League last month.

Rayo earned only its second win against Madrid in the last 21 games against the city rival. Madrid won 19 of those matches, with its last defeat in 2019.

The hosts opened the scoring five minutes in at Vallecas Stadium with a shot from inside the area by Santi Comesaña. Madrid rallied with Luka Modric converting a 37th-minute penalty kick awarded by video review and a 41st-minute header by Éder Militão.

Rayo equalized through Álvaro García in the 44th and regained the lead with a penalty kick converted by Óscar Trejo in the 67th after VAR revealed a handball by Dani Carvajal inside the area.

Trejo's shot from the spot was initially saved by Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but VAR intervened again and the penalty was retaken as Courtois apparently had his foot off the line and Carvajal entered the area before Trejo’s strike.

Rayo has won two in a row and extended its unbeaten run to five straight league matches. It moved to eighth.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti could not count on striker Karim Benzema and defender Antonio Rüdiger, who were not fully fit. Midfielder Toni Kroos also was out after being sent off in the previous round.

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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press