Leganes boot Real Madrid in 2-1 shocker
MADRID, Spain (AP):
Real Madrid followed their biggest win of the season with their most embarrassing defeat yesterday, and the pressure is back on for coach Zinedine Zidane and his players.
After routing Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 to give fans a glimmer of hope after a series of poor results, Madrid crashed out of the Copa del Rey with a shock 2-1 loss to Leganes at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The elimination in the Copa quarter-finals was the latest setback for Madrid in what has been a disappointing season.
It is fourth in the Spanish league, trailing leader Barcelona by 19 points with a game in hand, and their only realistic chance of a title the rest of the season will be in the Champions League, where they face Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.
The Bernabeu crowd loudly jeered Madrid after the loss, with Zidane among those criticised the most after fielding second-stringers despite the big gap to Barcelona in La Liga.
"We clearly failed," Zidane said. "And I'm the one responsible for it."
Playing without Cristiano Ronaldo and other regular starters, Madrid were unable to defend their 1-0 win from the first leg, being eliminated on away goals after a 2-2 draw on aggregate.
"We were not supposed to be eliminated like this after having won the first leg," said Zidane, calling the defeat the worst moment of his coaching career with Madrid. "I'm upset. It's a big disappointment. I know it's a difficult night for the fans."
It's the second consecutive year Madrid have been eliminated in the Copa quarter-finals, having lost to Celta Vigo last season.
Leganes, based just south of Madrid, were playing in the last eight of the Copa for the first time in the team's 89-year history.
"The key was that we believed we could achieve this, even after the loss last week," Leganes coach Asier Garitano said. "We played a great match and everything went well."