After suffering a massive Covid-19 outbreak within the club, Real Madrid CF welcomed the New Year with a big setback. The league leaders loosened their grip on the La Liga Santander trophy after an unexpected loss at the hands of Getafe on Sunday.

Real Madrid took the short trip to neighbors Getafe, where they were still favourites to win despite having had to deal with numerous Covid-19 cases over the Christmas break. Most of the infected players recovered quickly and were able to return for the first match of the year, but manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted that they were still on vacation mode.

Enes Unal scored an early goal for the hosts in the opening 10 minutes, with a calm strike against a lonely Thibaut Courtois. Unal managed to steal the ball and weave past Eder Militao before facing the Belgian keeper, who had no chance in the one-on-one challenge.

The Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez was ecstatic, but the fans knew that anything could still happen. As it turns out, Real Madrid neve found the formula to stage a comeback.

Karim Benzema was not as effective without his tag-team partner Vinicius Junior, who is still sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19. Rodrygo Goes covered for him, but was largely invisible throughout the match.

Real Madrid dominated the possession and both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos bombarded the Getafe goal. However, the woodwork did a good job of denying a rocket that came off the left foot of the Croatian star.

Ancelotti tried to make early changes to shake things up and introduced Eden Hazard and Marcelo at half-time. Unfortunately, the Belgian was unable to make an impact up front and Marcelo was visibly sluggish.

Benzema had a shot blocked in the 67th minute, and the rest of Los Blancos' attempts were dealt with by King of the Match David Soria. The final 15 minutes was a flurry of attempts by Real Madrid, but the hosts put a wall up to defend their narrow lead.

It was a crucial victory for Getafe, who managed to free themselves from the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are still on top of the table with 46 points, but Sevilla are now within striking distance. The Andalusian side is eight points behind, but with two games in hand. They have the opportunity to close the gap to just two points if they manage to win both of their upcoming matches against Cadiz and Zaragoza.

Marcelo, Real Madrid Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images