Third-tier Alcoyano conjures Real shock

2021-01-22 12:06:40

Alcoyano players celebrate after Juanan netted the third-tier side's extra-time winner to knock Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. Madrid's shock exit comes hot on the heels of its La Liga draw at Osasuna and a Super Cup loss to Athletic Bilbao. AP MADRID-Real Madrid couldn't avoid another Copa del Rey upset, not even while playing with an extra man against a third-division club. Minnow Alcoyano came from behind to eliminate Madrid 2-1 in the last 32 on Wednesday. The host scored in the 80th minute to force extra time and again in the 115th to shock the Spanish powerhouse and advance to the last 16. That was despite having Ramon Lopez sent off in the 109th for a second bookable offense. "We still believed we could win the match even after the red card," Alcoyano coach Vicente Parras said. "This feat will still be remembered in 15 or 20 years." The result piles more pressure coach Zinedine Zidane and Madrid, which was coming off a loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup. Zidane's side was also held to a draw in its last La Liga game, against relegation-battler Osasuna. "When you play against a third-division club you have to win, but we couldn't do it," Zidane said. "It happens. I'll take the responsibility. We are going to keep working hard." Madrid was seeking its first Copa title since 2014, which was the last time it reached the final. It was eliminated by Real Sociedad in the quarterfinals last season. It hadn't failed to get past the last 32 since 2015-16, when it was disqualified for using an ineligible player. Crosstown rival Atletico Madrid had already been eliminated by a third-division club in the second round this season, losing to Cornella, which was due to host Barcelona on Thursday. Based in the eastern city of Alcoy, the small club of Alcoyano made it to the Copa quarterfinals in 1946, when it lost to eventual champion Madrid. It has played four seasons in the first division, but not since 1950-51. Juanan scored the winner from close range for Alcoyano after a quick counterattack. Playing without some regular starters, Madrid controlled possession from the start but couldn't open the scoring until Eder Militao headed in a cross by Marcelo in the final minute of the first half. Madrid continued to struggle to create scoring opportunities and the host eventually found the equalizer with a close-range shot by Jose Solbes following a corner. Alcoyano threatened again before the end of regulation and in extra time, before Lopez was sent off for a second yellow card after a robust tackle on Casemiro. Juanan's winner came after a missed chance by Madrid off a corner. Alcoyano goalkeeper Jose Juan Figueras, 41, had to make a couple of key saves to keep Madrid from recovering. The game was played at the 5,000-capacity El Collao Stadium, which was without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic. "I can't stop thinking about the fans who couldn't be with us tonight, but I'm sure that they are extremely happy with what the team has achieved," Parras said. Earlier, Sociedad eliminated third-division Cordoba 2-0 with a pair of second-half goals by William Jose, the Brazilian forward who is expected to seal a move to English club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Last season's Copa final between Sociedad and Basque rival Athletic Bilbao has yet to be played after being postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic. AP