Valencia's Soler sinks Real Madrid with hat-trick of penalties
Valencia's hat-trick hero Carlos Soler said he thought twice about stepping up again to take a penalty in his side's 4-1 win over Real Madrid yesterday morning (Singapore time), after seeing his first spot-kick saved by Thibaut Courtois.
Soler also revealed that Real players tried to put him off his second attempt when the penalty had to be retaken, after teammate Yunus Musah encroached in the area and netted the rebound.
Soler picked the same bottom left-hand corner on the second attempt, but this time blasted beyond the outstretched Courtois. He also beat the Belgian twice more from the spot in the second half, becoming the first player to score three penalties against Real in any competition.
"There was a moment when I doubted whether I should take it again but, in the end, I decided to and after I scored, it gave me the confidence to take the others," said the 23-year-old Spaniard.
"Opponents always say things to put you off and I could hear the Madrid players behind me saying they knew where I was going to shoot and that he (Courtois) would save it again.
"But I decided to take it the same way, I practise a lot in training and it paid off."
Karim Benzema put Real ahead with a long-range strike, but Valencia replied with Soler's penalties and an own goal from Raphael Varane, as Real suffered their worst league defeat since losing 5-1 to Barcelona in 2018.
"There's no excuse for how we defended today," said Real coach Zinedine Zidane, whose preparation was disrupted by Eden Hazard and Casemiro's positive tests for Covid-19. - REUTERS