Real's advance delayed as Zidane blasts careless play

Gareth Bale celebrating with team-mate Dani Carvajal after his quick opener. But Legia Warsaw battled back with three goals and only a late equaliser helped Real save a point.
Gareth Bale celebrating with team-mate Dani Carvajal after his quick opener. But Legia Warsaw battled back with three goals and only a late equaliser helped Real save a point.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

WARSAW • Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane cursed his side's carelessness after the European champions threw away a two-goal lead against Legia Warsaw and needed a late equaliser from Mateo Kovacic to salvage a 3-3 draw on Wednesday.

Zidane was unhappy at how his side lost their intensity in a strange atmosphere at an empty stadium.

Uefa had ruled that the game be played behind closed doors after crowd trouble at Legia's previous Champions League game at the Polish Army Stadium.

Gareth Bale's stunning acrobatic effort gave Real the lead after 57 seconds - the club's fastest goal in the Champions League - and Karim Benzema made it 2-0 in the 35th minute. But Legia staged a stunning comeback.

Thibault Moulin put the Polish champions ahead after goals from Vadis Odjidja and Miroslav Radovic either side of half-time, leaving Zidane angry with his side despite Kovacic averting a first defeat of the season.

"When you score two goals away from home you normally have things under control but in the end we let our opponents back into the game," he told a news conference.

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    Gareth Bale's goal, inside 60sec at Legia Warsaw, is the club's fastest goal in the Champions League.

"Once they got the first goal back it became difficult for us. We lacked everything - intensity, movement, enthusiasm. Sometimes you get games like this and now have to be patient. The good thing is we didn't lose."

Zidane's decision to play an ultra-offensive 4-2-4 formation backfired but the Frenchman, who was without centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe through injury, refused to blame his defence.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was also to blame when he let Radovic's low effort slip under him for the equaliser just before the hour.

"After the second goal we dropped our intensity," said the Frenchman. "I'm happy with our defence because it's not just a question of our defenders."

The draw means Madrid must wait to take their place in the last 16, as they trail Group F leaders Borussia Dortmund (10 points) by two points with two games to play.

The German side qualified for the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the other group game, despite missing striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The star Gabonese player was suspended "for internal reasons" and his replacement, Adrian Ramos, hit the first-half winner.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Real's advance delayed as Zidane blasts careless play'. Print Edition | Subscribe