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Mon 25 Feb 2008 07:08 AM

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Real Madrid rue underestimating Getafe

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has paid the price for not taking his old club seriously on Sunday.

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster should have known better, after all he was the coach at Getafe last season, but he paid the price for not taking his old club seriously on Sunday.

Getafe, now with another former Real player Michael Laudrup at the helm, beat the Spanish giants 1-0 to end their 100 per cent home record in La Liga this season.

Schuster had audaciously stated on Saturday, "I can't imagine waking up on Monday morning with our advantage over Barca down to two points."

However, after the Catalan club's 5-1 demolition of Levante that is exactly the situation.

"We threw away our opportunities despite defending much better. Our recent rivals have hardly had any chances but we've been making small errors which have let them win," said Schuster on Sunday, after Real's third loss in eight days.

"Up until now things have been going well but we seem to be having problems in the last few games which haven't been there before."

Lack of concentration or complacency might be one thing he could address.

Having started February with a nine-point advantage over second-placed Barcelona, Real's lead over their bitter rivals has now dwindled to two.

Getafe's bizarre goal, which could be said to have been as much Real's own fault as derived by the visitors' opportunism, will also provide Schuster with some sleepless nights in addition to his imprudent statement.

Arjen Robben thought he had put Real in the lead after 65 minutes but, as the Real players celebrated, referee Arturo Dauden Ibanez ruled that captain Raul Gonzalez had been offside before he passed to his Dutch team mate.

Getafe quickly took the ensuing free kick and executed a swift counter-attack, exploiting their opponents now under-manned defence.

Franceso Casquero broke free and laid the ball off to Manu Del Moral who, in turn, passed to Ikechuckwu Uche and the Nigerian coolly slotted the ball home with his right foot from 10 metres out.

"We've lost this game through one solitary incident. I've never seen a goal allowed like that before," said Schuster.

"Now we've just got to put this behind us and carry on because things are still in our favour."

The reigning Spanish champions have 56 points from 25 games, with 13 games still remaining, with Barca on 54 points.

"Barcelona still have to depend on us (dropping points) and in the coming week we will have players back from injury and that means I'll have nearly all the squad at my disposal," added Schuster.

The recovering players include Brazilian striker Robinho and Portuguese defender Pepe, both of who were in impressive form prior to their recent injuries.

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