Real Madrid Dumped Out Of Copa Del Rey
Rotation can backfire. An understrength Real Madrid crashed out of the Spanish Cup in the round of 32 at the hands of third-division club Alcoyano on Wednesday, increasing pressure on French coach Zinedine Zidane.
Zidane opted to rest the majority of his stars for the fixture against Alcoyano, but was soon to rue that decision with the visitors opening the scoring just before half time with Eder Militao crashing in a header from a cross from Marcelo. In the 80th minute, the hosts equalized through Jose Sobes to take the game into extra time.
Alcoyano had Ramon Lopez dismissed for a second yellow card, but it didn’t discourage the underdogs with Juanan scoring to inflict one of 13-time European champions’ most humbling defeats. The 41-year-old goalkeeper José Juan Figueras made 10 saves on the night to play a vital role in his club’s remarkable win. Alcoyano last made it to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals in 1946.
Madrid have not won the Spanish Cup since 2014.
They also crashed out of the Super Cup and drew with relegation strugglers Osasuna in the league. “When you play against a third-divsion club you have to win, but we couldn’t do it,” said Zidane. “It happens. I’ll take the responsibility. We are going to keep working hard. We’re not going to go crazy over this.”
Spanish newspaper AS called the match “one of the most red-faced pages of its [Madrid’s] history.”
Is this the end for Zinedine Zidane, or at least the beginning of such a phase. I guess we will see. However, it does look as if the French legend is approaching the end of his latest managerial cycle and his stubbon refusal to call upon, is now set to backfire.