Zidane fumes as leaky defence costs Real again

French coach 'disgusted' as his side throw away lead twice in draw with Levante

Real Madrid's dismal season was further soured by a 2-2 La Liga draw at Levante yesterday morning (Singapore time), a result that left embattled coach Zinedine Zidane "disgusted".

Zidane's side twice threw away the lead with Giampaolo Pazzini's 89th-minute equaliser earning Levante a point and leaving the defending champions fourth in the standings, 18 points behind arch-rivals and leaders Barcelona, who played against Espanyol late last night.

Real started the year poorly but consecutive league wins over Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia had given Zidane hope that his team might be turning a corner, until they slipped up again against a hardworking Levante.

Two defensive errors led to both Levante goals, the first converted by Emmanuel Boateng before Pazzini's late intervention.

Real captain Sergio Ramos broke the deadlock but then played Jose Luis Morales onside in the build-up to Levante's first equaliser three minutes before half-time.

Then, 33-year-old forward Pazzini, a deadline-day loan signing from Verona, was allowed to charge between Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane to score on his debut after Isco had restored Real's advantage.

"I'm disgusted with the result, it's hard to take," Zidane said. "After our second goal, we had to control the ball, nothing else, and defensively we were not good.

"The truth is the game was under control and we had done the hard part, which is scoring. We scored the second, 2-1, but we made two errors and they scored two goals against us."

Real have now conceded in each of their last six league games and shipped a total of 25 goals, more than twice as many as Barcelona (10) and second-placed Atletico Madrid (9).

With Real eliminated from the Copa del Rey by local rivals Leganes, the only trophy they can realistically win is the Champions League, in which they have a tricky last-16 tie against Paris St Germain to negotiate.

Midfielder Casemiro is adamant that Real cannot continue to defend so poorly if they wish to defend their European crown.

"We made two errors and we let in two goals, that's football," Casemiro said.

"We have to think game-by-game, but it's clear we can't make those mistakes against PSG."

Real host PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu on Feb 14 in the first leg of their Champions League showdown, with the return in Paris on March 6. - REUTERS


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