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Real Madrid punished for their lethargy as Athletic Bilbao knock Blancos out of Copa del Rey

Real Madrid have been eliminated from the Copa del Rey
Real Madrid have been eliminated from the Copa del Rey
Emmanuel Ayamga

Real Madrid have finally been beaten. After a six-game unbeaten run that saw them extend their lead at the top of La Liga and win the Spanish Super Cup, the Blancos have been brought down to earth.

Carlo Ancelotti's side suffered a disappointing defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening – a loss that saw them exit the competition.

The Real Madrid boss has always said that he would try to win every competition and the team he put out sent that exact message.

Despite leaving out Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, Ancelotti named a strong starting line-up that contained Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, David Alaba and Vinicius Junior.

However, the Blancos just didn't come to the party as a second-half strike from Alex Berenguer condemned them to defeat.

Blancos punished for lethargy

Real Madrid have not won the Copa del Rey since 2014 and it would've been nice to finally lay their hands on the trophy after a seven-year wait.

That will not happen, though, following their elimination at the hands of Bilbao. The Blancos were on a good run of form before the winter break but have clearly dropped off on their return.

Ancelotti's side showed little desire in the first half and allowed their opponents to dictate the play. And by the time they finally got their act together, it was too late.

Real Madrid's consistency is why they currently hold a healthy lead at the top of La Liga. However, they were lethargic against Bilbao and were rightly punished for it.

2nd – @AthleticClub is the second different side to progress against Barcelona and Real Madrid in a single campaign in Copa del Rey in 21st Century after @RealZaragoza (two times – in 2003/2004 and 2005/2006). Lions. https://t.co/U2NkpVH76a

Managing Bilbao defeat key for Madrid's season

The Blancos are still on course to win the league but how they react to their latest defeat will determine how the season pans out.

Ancelotti's side is still in contention for the UEFA Champions League and will need to keep their heads up. Anything less, and their whole season could suffer a major setback.

"We're hurting because we want to win every competition we're involved in," the Italian manager said after their elimination, as quoted by Realmadrid.com.
"We won the Super Cup, we're in good shape in another two competitions and I don't think this defeat will have any adverse consequences.
"The consequence is that this defeat could make us stronger. We knew it was going to be a difficult game and we had players out."

Only time will tell whether this defeat will unite or divide the team. As it stands, though, Real Madrid have missed out on a trophy and the fans will be expecting a positive reaction in their next game.


Edited by Arjun Panchadar

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