Real Madrid eliminated from Copa del Rey
Alcoy, Spain, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- Third-division side Alcoyano made Copa del Rey history here Wednesday, besting mighty Real Madrid 2-1 in extra time to dump the Blancos out of the tournament in the third round.
For Zinedine Zidane, who has guided Real Madrid to multiple titles in LaLiga and Champions League, it was the latest in a series of disappointments in the only competition he has never won as the Blancos coach.
Against Alcoyano, the Frenchman’s “B Unit” dominated possession and set the pace throughout the first half, culminating in a goal by Eder Militao right before the break to put the visitors ahead.
Lucas Vazquez came close to what could have been a decisive second goal for the Blancos in the 54th minute, but the lead was still just 1-0 in the 80th minute when a cross from Alcoyano’s Juli found Jose Solbes unmarked at the far post for the equalizer.
The goal energized the home side, but Real Madrid were quick to regain the initiative and only an impressive save by 41-year-old Alcoyano goalkeeper Jose Juan prevented Vazquez from winning it for the capital club in regulation.
Juan continued to bail out his team in extra time, yet Alcoyano’s fate appeared to be sealed when they went down to 10 men in the 109th minute with the expulsion of Ramon for a second yellow card.
Five minutes later, however, Juanan scored for the hosts on the counter and they hung on to secure a berth in the fourth round.
“I am the coach, the responsibility is mine and I am going to assume it, as always,” Zidane said after the final whistle. “The players have made the effort and it’s a different match if we score the second goal. There is also a goalkeeper who has made three stops and the second goal didn’t want to go in.”
While noting a mistake by Vinicius on a chance for the second goal, Zidane declined to blame his players and rejected the idea that the defeat was a “disgrace.”
“This is soccer. They are difficult things because it’s a Segunda B (third-division) and we have to win the match, but it didn’t turn out that way in the end,” he said. “It’s not a disgrace. These are things that happen in the career of a footballer.”
Zidane said that Real Madrid will focus now on its defense of the LaLiga championship – the Blancos are currently second behind Atletico Madrid – and the Champions League knockout stage, which begins next month. EFE dvg-rmm/dr