Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey exit to Alcoyano ‘not an embarrassment,’ insists Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane dismissed suggestions that his side’s elimination from the Copa del Rey at the hands of tiny Alcoyano on Wednesday was an “embarrassment” for the Spanish giants.
The third division side scored an unlikely winner late in extra time after being reduced to 10 men to inflict a humiliating 2-1 defeat on the champions of Spain.
Eder Militao headed in a cross from Brazilian compatriot Marcelo to give Real the lead right at the end of the first half, but Alcoyano substitute Jose Solbes stabbed home following a corner to level for the hosts with 10 minutes remaining.
Alcoyano’s Ramon Lopez picked up a second yellow card in the 110th minute for a foul on Casemiro to leave his side a man down, but instead of clinging on for penalties, the home side burst forward five minutes later and snatched a winner when midfielder Juanan turned in a cross from close range.
“It’s not an embarrassment, it’s something that can always happen in football,” Zidane told reporters.
“Something like this can happen in a footballer’s career but I take responsibility for it and we’ll keep on working. We’re not going to go crazy over this.”
The Frenchman brought on some of his biggest names late in the game such as Eden Hazard, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema, but the world class talent could not prevent Real slipping to their worst Cup defeat since being knocked out by Alcorcon in 2009/10.
They also exited the competition in the last 32 in 2015/16 due to fielding an ineligible player against Cadiz.
“The players gave everything on the pitch, we had a few chances and when you don’t score them this is what happens. Their goalkeeper made two or three great saves and the second goal just didn’t want to go in. If it had done, it would have been a very different game,” Zidane added.
“It’s a difficult moment because we’re out of the Cup, we needed to do more than we did today but at least we tried everything.”
The Alcoyano defeat followed last week’s Super Cup semi-final loss to Athletic Bilbao and Real have only won once in their last five matches in all competitions.
Zidane was asked if he feared for his position as coach due to the team’s slide in form.
“When you lose people always talk about that but I take responsibility and whatever will be will be. I’m very relaxed, our players want to win every game, they always try to but sometimes something else happens. You have to deal with it,” he said.
“We’ve been playing well, a little bit less recently, but apart from the last couple of games we’ve done things well this season and we need to remember what we’re capable of.”