For Real Madrid, this year has not begun well.
On Wednesday, after a crushing loss to third-division team Alcoyano, the Spanish giant was kicked out of the Copa del Rey. Zinedine Zidane’s side took the lead late in the first half through Eder Militao, but was forced into extra time by a late Jose Solbes goal. Incredibly, before Juanan volleyed home from close range to secure a famous victory for the Segunda Division B outfit, the minnows also had a player sent off.
The Spanish newspaper AS labeled the match on Wednesday “one of the most red-faced pages of its [Madrid’s] history.”
Zidane acknowledged blame for the loss after the match, but rubbished suggestions that the outcome was an embarrassment.
In order to save the game late on, Zidane had made some changes to his starting lineup but put on a number of world-class substitutions. But even the likes of Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema were unable to save the day as Madrid was left to focus on its worst cup performance since losing to Alcorcon in 2009, the then third-division side.
“You should always dream big, we worked our socks off and suffered a lot,” said Alcoyano keeper Jose Juan after the match.