Zinedine Zidane’s plan of rotating players had been working well so far, but somehow, it failed to fetch the desired results against Real Sociedad in the quarterfinals of Copa del Ray. The match was in front of the home crowd – Santiago Bernabeu – where the Los Blancos were cooked.

James Rodriguez was played in the midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde. Nacho Fernadez and Marcelo started on both the flanks, while Brahim Diaz featured to showcase his talent. As a matter of fact, the names suggest, the rotation policy of Zidane was not wrong at all – such players bear enough experience and talent to pull things off against any opposition on a given day.

But surprisingly, the Los Blancos were off-colour.

Even a few days back, Zidane’s defence was widely praised by many and considered one of the most important factors behind his brilliant unbeaten run, but last night it looked shaky. Especially, during the transition.

Sociedad exploited the space behind Nacho – Mikel Oyarzabal would make a run without the ball behind him time and again, which was overlooked. Eder Militao would have to come over and make an important interception during that period.

James in the midfield failed to provide the solidity and struggled to move up and down as the midfield was exposed without Casemiro.

Even offensively, Real Madrid lacked the creative touch except for Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes – both of them consistently threatened from both the flanks. Vinicius was a continuous threat to Gorosabel all night. He was able to dribble past his marker over and over again and find room for a cross or a shot. He also scored one disallowed goal in the second half and set up Rodrygo’s goal to make it 2 – 4.

Alexander Isak was the hero of the night, but whether Real Madrid made it tough for him or not remains a moot question. Overall, Real Madrid had been below-par and finally, the fantastic unbeaten run came to an end.