Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid crashed to a humiliating Copa del Rey exit on Wednesday when they were knocked out by little Leganes in the quarter-finals with under-fire coach Zinedine Zidane taking the blame.
European champions Real lost 2-1 in the second leg at their Bernabeu home as the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate with their modest city neighbours going through on away goals despite having lost the first leg 1-0 last week.
“I am responsible for all of this. It’s a failure for me,” said Zidane who recently penned a contract extension until 2020.
Admitting that it had been his worst night as a coach, the Frenchman added: “It’s a logical result, our opponents played their match and we did not.
“It is a big blow. We did what we had to do in the first leg. Nobody expected this, especially me but this is football.
“I am the manager. I picked the team and I was wrong in many regards. It’s up to me to find the solutions. I will continue to fight, to work, to battle and to find the things the team needs.”
Javi Eraso gave Leganes a 32nd-minute lead with a spectacular curling shot from long range.
Karim Benzema levelled on the night after 47 minutes thanks to a pass from Lucas Vazquez but Brazilian striker Gabriel Pires then hit the winner with a firm header eight minutes later.
It was a depressing evening for Zinedine Zidane’s side who, despite being in the Champions League last 16 where they face Paris Saint-Germain in three weeks’ time, are 19 points behind Barcelona in the Spanish title race.
The fans let their feelings known by booing off the team at half-time.
Leganes have a budget of just 45 million euros — six times less than the 675 million euros commanded by mighty Real.
Even without Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who were rested Wednesday after starring in the 7-1 rout of Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, Real should still have had enough firepower for a side languishing in 13th spot in La Liga.
Zidane started with Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, who scored in the first leg but he got a warning of what was to come when Claudio Beauvue saw a free-kick come back off a post.
But Leganes put on an inspired display, despite backs to the wall late in the game, to make the semi-finals for the first time.