Real Madrid have been behind at half time in five of their ten encounters due to early lapses in concentration, and only against Girona did they manage to finish the game on top.
“We gave away the first half and what happened, happened: 3-0,” was Casemiro’s explanation of the debacle against Sevilla.
That isn’t so bad if it happens once, but the fact is Real Madrid have shown concentration lapses in the first half of games since the start of the season. The latest example of this was Kroos’ grave error in the second minute in Moscow when his poor back pass gifted CSKA a 1-0 lead.
Madrid have started games asleep and one important statistic proves it: they have conceded eight first half goals and only one in the second half (three if you count the two scored by Atlético in extra time of the Uefa Supercup).
The first half and second half goal difference statistics further illustrates the point. When counting just the first 45 minutes, Madrid have a goal difference of -2 (six for and eight against); for the second half the goal difference is +10 (11 for and one against; +8 if we count Atléti’s two Uefa Supercup extra time goals).
It has so far been a season in which Real find themselves paddling upstream in more games than usual, which is symptomatic of their shortcomings in the first half. In half of their encounters so far this season, Madrid have been the losing side at half time (against Atlético in the Supercup, Girona, Athletic, Sevilla and CSKA), and only against Girona did they manage to go onto to win the game.
Los Blancos had shown signs of disconnection in first half of games (Supercup, Girona and Athletic) but it was against Sevilla that they really hit rock bottom. They failed to show up in the first period at the Pizjuán, which allowed the home side to score three goals in 39 minutes. By the time they had found their feet in the second half, the deficit was already too wide.
CSKA’s second-minute goal at the Luzhniki was the result of another tremendous lapse in concentration, this time from Kroos. Madrid had 88 minutes to try and get back into the game but they couldn’t see away past the hosts. Lopetegui needs to get his players to concentrate from the off, because, as we have clearly seen, these early concentration lapses are costing them games.