Real's Ronaldo gamble backfires as Espanyol snatch late win

Real's Ronaldo gamble backfires as Espanyol snatch late win

Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, has described their 1-0 defeat at Espanyol on Tuesday as "painful" but "undeserved".

And while a number of games were decided at the death in Madrid's favour in La Liga last season, it has not been the same story this time and Espanyol became the third team in the Primera Division to beat Real with a late goal, after Betis and Villarreal.

The defending Spanish champions are a massive 14 points adrift of league leaders Barcelona, while playing a game more than their fierce rivals. Atletico were yesterday to host CD Leganes and Barcelona visit Las Palmas today. Speaking to media about the disappointing result, Zidane said that Madrid started brightly with plenty of chances to score in the first half.

Zidane had rotated heavily thinking of next week's Champions League last-16 second leg at Paris Saint-Germain, although the XI still included global stars like Bale, Ramos, Raphael Varane and Isco.

Real return to action on Saturday with a home league game against Getafe. However, his decision to also rest French striker Karim Benzema and play Gareth Bale as a centre forward backfired. At the other end, home goalkeeper Diego Lopez saved comfortably from Achraf Hakimi and Mateo Kovacic.

The Spanish global appeared visibly annoyed at being replaced by Karim Benzema, and it is believed his captain berated his poor attitude after the match. Espanyol, who moved up to 13th in La Liga, had not won in any of their past 20 games against Madrid, drawing three and losing 17.

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Their previous league win came eight rounds ago, at Levante UD.

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Los Blancos looked to have earned a draw until late on in second-half stoppage time, when Gerard Moreno struck past Keylor Navas to end Real's seven-match unbeaten run.

"We didn't deserve this defeat, it hurts".

Portu scored a 14th-minute victor to put Girona in seventh place, two points behind sixth-place Sevilla.

Celta, who have only one win in their past five games, dropped to ninth place.