In a shocking match at Santiago Bernabeu, Leganes knocked the defending European champions Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey here on Thursday. Debuting only just last season in the La Liga and currently placed at 13th in the table, Leganes shocked Los Blancos by winning 2-1 at their home ground and hence qualifying for the semi-finals to face Sevilla. It is worth remembering that this is the first time that Leganes have reached the semi finals of the Copa del Rey.
Just after the first half hour, Javier Eraso put the visitors ahead with a spectacular goal. However, the equalizer from Karim Benzema just after the first half placated fans that Real are still in control of the game. But after just seven minutes, the Brazilian striker Gabriel Pires scored a stunning goal to seal the fate of Real Madrid. Both Benzema and Sergio Ramos tried but were denied from scoring through the brilliance of Nereo Champagne.
This set-back is in stark contrast with their previous game win when they had stunned Deportivo by 7-1 at Santiago Bernabeu. In a season that has seen a massive dip in Real’s fortunes, that win was expected to bring back the lost form of Real Madrid. They have already lost against Barcelona and Villarreal this season, while the draws against Celta Vigo and Numancia have lost them precious points so much that they are currently placed at the 4th position in the table.
Even the last time at Butarque, Real had barely managed a win in the 89th minute of the game thanks to Marco Asensio’s goal. But still, Real had an advantage to get into the semis, yet the 2-1 defeat meant they were knocked out on away goals. Yes, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo were not playing as Zidane’s rotation plan, still the excuse does not look acceptable to lose in this way.
Barcelona is leading the La Liga table massively with 19 points, a gap impossible for Real Madrid and other teams to bridge now. Before this defeat, Real were eyeing the Copa del Rey and the Champions League as the best hopes for silverware. And with the last win against Leganes in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final, Real’s advancement to the semi-finals looked very likely. However, Leganes defeated them in a humiliating way.
With such a bad form, it will be a big challenge for Real to face Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16. After their three matches against Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad, Real will face the French giants on Feb. 14. However, Zidane will have to do something special in order to win against PSG.
While for Leganes, this win has created history as they will play their first ever Copa del Rey semi-final match in Febuary against Sevilla. They might have come with lesser expectations against Real Madrid but now their confidence would be sky-high after this victory.