Football

Zidane: Five-minute spell cost us the game

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has urged his side to put the disappointment of a first defeat in 40 games behind them as Sevilla produced a remarkable late turnaround to breathe new life into the La Liga title race with a 2-1 win yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Zidane's men looked set to extend their commanding lead at the top of the table when Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Sanchez Pizjuan from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.

It was the Portuguese's 56th league penalty, making him the joint-highest penalty scorer in La Liga history.

However, Real captain Sergio Ramos delighted the home fans by heading into his own net in the 85th minute on his return to his former club.

Substitute Stevan Jovetic then curled home a dramatic stoppage-time winner on his La Liga debut as Sevilla closed to within a point of Real.

Victory also takes Sevilla a point above Barcelona into second place, but Real still have a game in hand on both.

Zidane admitted that Real's dressing room "was a difficult place to be in" after the defeat.

"We lost the game in a five-minute spell. It's hard to take because with the game we had, the defeat is heavy," said the Frenchman.

"We knew a defeat was going to happen someday but, of course, we can take something positive (from the game).

"I'm very proud of what we did in the 40 games, now we have to rest, think about the next games and find a new dynamic.

"From now to the end of the season, we'll have more difficult matches.

"Sevilla showed they have the ability to fight for the title.

"They play good football, they fight, they put intensity in everything they do.

"But so do we. I'm not going to think anything else about Sevilla. We're hurt because defeats aren't welcome here.

A DIFFICULT PLACE

"Now the dressing room... is a difficult place to be in. I don't think it's a lack of focus."

Ramos received an even more hostile reception than usual in Seville after goading the ultras section of the home support after scoring a late penalty in a 3-3 Copa del Rey draw last Thursday. Real progressed 6-3 on aggregate.

"There is no need to point the finger or apologise," said Ramos.

"When we win, we all win and, when we lose, it is the same. We couldn't kill the game off."

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli, meanwhile, hopes that the win can fuel his side's unlikely title challenge.

"It has to stimulate the team. Playing like this against a team that hadn't lost in so long," said the Argentinian.

"The conclusion to take from the game is that we won it, we are a point behind them and played with great bravery against such a big team." - WIRE SERVICES

Zinedine ZidaneSevilla FCREAL MADRID