If you are a supporter of Real Madrid then this is not the best time to be in – The Copa del Rey elimination of the Los Blancos comes as a blow to Zinedine Zidane’s 2020-21 projects, and one that is potentially fatal. The loss against Segunda B side Alcoyano is another setback after the exit from the Spanish Super Cup, with Real Madrid ending the night with Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio, and Karim Benzema on the pitch.

In just six days, Real Madrid have seen their chances of two different trophies slip away, following their Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Athletic Club. Now, all of their eggs are in the Champions League and La Liga baskets.

This latest defeat is a humiliating one for the club and one that falls into the same category as Alcorconazo in the 2009-10 season under Manuel Pellegrini, which saw them lose 4-0 to Alcorcon.

That loss decided the Chilean’s future, with him dismissed at the end of the season, and that same fate could await Zidane, whose management of the squad has been questioned, as have the poor results the side has picked up this season.

Real Madrid tested Jose Juan with a pair of early chances, the first an effort from distance from Fede Valverde, followed by a Militao header off a corner kick. Lucas Vazquez also had a crack at goal later in the half, but outside of those opportunities, Madrid could not puncture what was a compact and resolute Alcoyano defence until the very final seconds of the half.

The goal originated from the left foot of Marcelo, who fizzed in a ball into the area that met the surging Militao, who headed in past the flat-footed Jose Juan to make it a 1-0 Madrid lead.

After the break, Madrid were hardly threatening in the final third despite an overwhelming advantage in possession. Finally, a rare counter-attack for Los Blancos almost yielded a second score, only for Jose Juan to come all the way out of his own penalty area to block a Vinicius shot.

It was the let-off that Alcoyano needed and minutes later they pulled their socks up and drew 1-1 with ten minutes to play.

Juli whipped in a corner kick that was flicked on at the near post and spun perfectly for Solbes to stab home from a meter out for the goal.

The game went to extra-time.

Zidane brought on Eden Hazard and Marcos Asensio.

A slick one-two combination between Asensio and Benzema forced Jose Juan into a diving save, as Madrid crept closer to the goal. Their task was made easier by a foolish second yellow card and sending off for Ramon with ten minutes remaining.

The 41-year-old Alcoyano stopper, who was superb throughout, was called on one last time during play to make a save, capping it with a kick-save to deny Marcelo.

Juli kicked-off a counter-attack that was beautifully continued by Diakite and Anton, with the former crossing for Juanan, who appeared at the near post and steered home a shot past Alcoyano to take the 2-1 lead and left Zidane and Real Madrid in the cold.

Zidane is under pressure after the back-to-back setbacks even though the French maestro still seemed composed enough.

“I think so but you have to ask them [if I still have their support],” he said at a press conference.

“We have done good things, not so much lately, but apart from the last games, we did good things this season. We have to concentrate on the things that can be done.

“When you lose, you always talk. I take responsibility and whatever has to happen, will happen. I am very calm, the players wanted to win the game. They try and sometimes different things happen. You have to assume responsibility.

“I am going to assume it, as always. The players have tried and if we score the second goal it is another match, football is like that. The goalkeeper has made two or three saves and didn’t allow us to score the second goal. But I have the responsibility. We are out.”

“We have tried; I think the players have left everything on the field. We had chances and when you don’t put them in, what happened to us can happen,” he said.

“It is a difficult moment, we are out of the Copa, we had to do something else but we couldn’t. The players have tried. This is football, it is very difficult because we played against a Segunda B team and we have to win the game, but it didn’t go like that.

“It’s not a shame, it can happen, it happens, these are things that happen in a football career. I assume responsibility and we will continue working. We will not go crazy.”

Indeed, Real Madrid need not panic but work harder for the future in this hectic schedule. The La Liga and Champions League are around the corner and Real Madrid are not down and out from those competitions, rather, they are still a contender and can win both the titles.

Setbacks are a part of the game and in the past, such setbacks have helped Real Madrid to regroup and win. Under Zidane, one can expect yet another dramatic turnaround.

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