Zidane dismisses Real criticism ahead of Cup clash at Celta

Zinedine Zidane's men boasted the far more superior line up but were always going to find it hard to claw back from their 2-1 deficit from the first leg of the tie.

Ronaldo delivered a fierce free kick from long range to restore Real Madrid's hope in its Copa del Rey quarterfinal matchup against Celta Vigo on Wednesday.

Los Blancos keeper Kiko Casilla prevailed in a one-on-one battle with Celta striker John Guidetti, but the ball bounced off Real Madrid defender Danilo and into the net to put the home side ahead 1-0 in the 44th minute.

Lucas Vazquez equalized again amid heavy rain with a header in the 90th, but Madrid failed to find a third goal to advance. It was his first goal in the competition in two years, according to AFP.

"We deserved a really happy moment like this, eliminating a rival like Real Madrid is not easy and it was great to see how happy the fans were", Celta captain Hugo Mallo said. "If we keep working, we will achieve big things", goal.com quoted Zidane as saying.

"We like these kinds of matches and from time to time we like to have the opportunity to come back".

A first league defeat of the season by Sevilla and a 2-1 loss to Celta Vigo in the Cup removed the team's veneer of invincibility, however, and Saturday's unconvincing 2-1 win over Malaga did little to stem the criticism, with Real's supporters booing their players during the game.

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'Maybe if we played a few more minutes we could have won it.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC.

Madrid, seeking its first Copa title since 2014, had been disqualified in the opening round of last season's competition after fielding an ineligible player.

Owing to Real's injury crisis, Zidane played Casemiro as a CB and often committed Danilo forward to increase the pressure.

"I don't think we were disorganised".

Real Madrid, who have wobbled at the start of 2017 following a brilliant 2016, will look to return to winning ways in La Liga when they host Real Sociedad on Sunday night.

  • Regina Holmes