The home side held firm against Rafael Benitez’s side as they slipped up in their first league game under their new coach
Rafael Benitez endured a difficult Real Madrid debut as his new-look side were held 0-0 by La Liga newcomers Sporting Gijon at El Molinon. Download video: Sporting Gijon 0-0 Real Madrid [La Liga] Highlights 2015/16
The former Napoli boss has the task of building on Carlo Ancelotti’s successful tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the Spaniard has work to do based on this showing as his revamped forward line failed to break down an organised Sporting side.
In the absence of the injured Karim Benzema, Jese started up front in a 4-2-3-1 system – ahead of Gareth Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo.
And while Real dominated first-half possession, it was Sporting who went closest to the opener when Antonio Sanabria saw a header rattle the crossbar 10 minutes before the break.
The Paraguay forward seemed to think the ball crossed the line after rebounding down, while Carlos Carmona headed a glorious chance wide early in the second half.
Benitez brought James Rodriguez on prior to the hour, but Real continued to dominate without reward, Abelardo Fernandez’s plucky side standing firm.
New signing Mateo Kovacic showed glimpses of his quality after replacing Isco with 20 minutes left, but there remains plenty for Benitez to ponder, notably his strangely out-of-sorts attacking unit..