Honeymoon over for Luxemburgo after Real Cup exit
Vanderlei Luxemburgo's brief honeymoon as
Real Madrid coach came to an abrupt end on Thursday when the Spanish
media slammed his side for their shock exit from the King's Cup at the
hands of second division Valladolid.
"Madrid throw the Cup," thundered sports daily Marca.
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"This was a spectacular failure by Luxemburgo's Real Madrid who proved
incapable of gaining more than a 1-1 draw against a second division side
who came to the Bernabeu with a team packed full of substitutes but,
unlike Real, full of enthusiasm."
Rival paper AS was equally damning in its criticism of Real's
"This was an immense and shameful stain on the image of Real Madrid,"
they said. "Although some may consider it a blessing in disguise, going
out to a second division side like Valladolid is unforgivable especially
over a two-legged tie.
"Real once again exhibited all the problems that Luxemburgo's arrival
and initial good fortune had briefly disguised."
The nine-time European champions, who rode their luck to hold on to a
0-0 draw in last week's first leg, looked on course to book a
quarter-final place when Michael Owen put them ahead against the run of
play midway through the second half.
But Valladolid, who had dominated throughout, shocked a half-full
Bernabeu when striker Xavi More fired home 13 minutes later to put his
side through on the away goals rule.
Although Real fielded a clutch of second string players for the first
half, first-team regulars such as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Raul and
Roberto Carlos all featured in the second but they were still unable to
overcome their modest opponents.
Real have not won the Cup since 1993 and the Madrid-based sporting press
made much of the fact that after the elimination of Barcelona, Valencia
and Deportivo Coruna in previous rounds, Real had a golden opportunity
to regain the crown.
Coach Luxemburgo tried to look on the bright side by saying that at
least the defeat would give them more time to prepare for their
forthcoming league and Champions League fixtures.
"I'm not saying it's a good thing but at least it means the fixture list
isn't going to be so congested," he said.
However, he warned his players that if they gave a similar performance
in next month's Champions League tie against Juventus their dreams of a
10th crown would also be shattered.
"If we play like that in the Champions League we won't do anything,"
said the Brazilian.
Real have won all three of their Primera Liga matches since Luxemburgo
took charge at the end of last month but still trail leaders Barca by
seven points at the season's halfway stage.