MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid’s season has lurched from one disappointment to another over the last few months and the mood at the club was further soured by a 2-2 La Liga draw at Levante on Saturday, a result that left embattled coach Zinedine Zidne “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.
Madrid 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 hard-working Levante.
The coach was furious that his team made two defensive errors which led to both Levante goals, the first converted by Emmanuel Boateng before Pazzini’s late intervention.
Madrid 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 halftime.
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 Madrid’s advantage.
“I’m disgusted with the result, it’s hard to take,” Zidane told reporters. “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.”
Madrid 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 Madrid eliminated from the King’s Cup 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 Madrid 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.”
Madrid 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.
Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by John O'Brien