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Zidane laments Real 'relaxing' to gift Legia thrilling draw

Reuters
NEWS
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25   //    03 Nov 2016, 04:48 IST
Football Soccer - Legia Warszawa v Real Madrid - Champions League - Polish Army Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - 2/11/16. Madrid's coach Zinedine Zidane before the match REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
Football Soccer - Legia Warszawa v Real Madrid - Champions League - Polish Army Stadium, Warsaw, Poland - 2/11/16. Madrid's coach Zinedine Zidane before the match REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

(Reuters) - 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 how his side lost their intensity amid a strange atmosphere at an empty stadium. UEFA had ruled 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, only for Legia to stage a stunning comeback.

Thibault Moulin put the Polish champions ahead after goals from Vadis Odjidja and Miroslav Radovic either side of halftime pegged Real back, 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," Zidane told a news conference.

"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."

Real have conceded seven goals in four Champions League games and have now gone 10 games without a clean sheet in all competitions, but Zidane, who was without centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe through injury, refused to blame his back four.

"It wasn't the worst game in defence. We started well and scored twice, but if you don't maintain the necessary intensity to continue playing well it's difficult.

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

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Asked about Real's long run without a clean sheet, Zidane added: "It's not worrying but we know what we need to do and we can improve. We need to keep working so it doesn't happen again.

"Before the game, I said that opponents can cause us problems if we don't play with enough intensity, and today we relaxed after scoring the two goals. Today, we're left with a strange sensation."

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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