Leipzig made Madrid pay for ‘sleepy’ Champions League start

Thibaut Courtois slammed Real Madrid’s “sleepy” start in their 3-2 Champions League loss to RB Leipzig, saying the team “lacked intensity” in conceding two early goals that led to their first defeat of the season.

Defender Josko Gvardiol put Leipzig ahead in the 13th minute and forward Christopher Nkunku doubled the home side’s lead five minutes later, before Vinicius Junior pulled a goal back before half-time.

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As Madrid chased an equalizer, substitute Timo Werner added a third for Leipzig on the counter-attack in the 81st minute and Rodrygo replied with a 94th minute penalty after he was fouled in the box.

“It happens to us sometimes. We started a bit sleepy, with no aggression, no intensity,” Courtois said. “Against a team like Leipzig, you pay for that. The boss [Carlo Ancelotti] had said to us that at home they’ve scored a lot of goals in the last five games. Even so, we started badly. You can’t do that.

“You can’t concede twice from two corners. Once they’ve scored the first, they can’t score another. We defended badly. We made it 2-1 before half-time, but in the second half it was the same . We misplaced a lot of passes. It wasn’t a good game.”

The result leaves Madrid top of Group F on 10 points, with Leipzig second on nine points, and Madrid needing a win in their final game against Celtic on Nov. 2 to guarantee going through to the round of 16 as group winners.

“As a goalkeeper you can see it. We weren’t in the game,” Courtois said. “We didn’t win the duels, and that happened with the two goals. We defended badly, we lacked intensity. We had to wake up.

“You can have a bad day, we play a lot of games in a short time, but you can’t lack intensity. We’re tired, but there are players on the bench too. We have to give 100% in every second “

Manager Carlo Ancelotti was reluctant to agree with Courtois when the keeper’s criticism of the team was put to him in his postmatch news conference, saying “everyone has their own opinion.”

“I’m not angry,” Ancelotti said. “A loss annoys us, but it’s a defeat that doesn’t hurt a lot. We have another chance to finish first against Celtic. It had to happen at some point and it happened today. You learn more from a defeat than from 10 wins in a row.”

Madrid had won 14 and drawn two of their matches so far this season before Tuesday’s defeat in Germany. They are three points clear at the top of the LaLiga table, and host Girona on Sunday before next week’s last group stage game with Celtic at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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