Madrid crash out of Spanish Cup
Real Madrid have crashed out of the Copa del Rey after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Celta Vigo.
The European champions salvaged a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu last night but it was way short of turning over a 2-0 defeat in Galicia last time out.
Danilo's own goal on the brink of half-time gave the visitors a troubling lead but Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid hope of one of their famous cup comebacks when he levelled scores on the night just after the hour mark.
For all the attacking bodies they could throw on, Zinedine Zidane's men couldn't break through and Daniel Wass' late second for Celta was the final nail in the coffin.
Lucas Vazquez, one of Zidane's attacking substitutions, helped them avoid defeat on the night with a late equaliser but hopes of progression had gone and it represents the manager's first significant failure since replacing Rafael Benitez just over a year ago.
How the sophomore coach - who recently also saw his side's 40-game undefeated streak fall when Stevan Jovetic fired title rivals Sevilla to victory - reacts to this turbulent patch will tell us much about his managerial mettle.
So now, with Barcelona and Sevilla both rallying in their title challenges, the Frenchman has the first significant blip in his coaching career.
How he responds to it, be it with tactical tweaks, new personnel or his usual tactic of just keeping calm, will be the subject of many column inches in the Spanish capital in the coming week.
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie