Real red-faced after draw at third-tier Olimpic

Sat Dec 7, 2013 6:45pm EST
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By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid were held to an embarrassing 0-0 draw at third-tier Olimpic de Xativa in the King's Cup last 32, first leg on Saturday as they came down to earth with a bump after a series of big wins.

Real, the world's richest club by income, were missing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Xabi Alonso but a team packed with internationals still failed to see off lowly opponents at their tiny stadium near Valencia.

The Olimpic players compete in a regional division one level below Real's B team and worked tirelessly on the artificial pitch to keep their illustrious visitors, the 2011 Cup winners, from barely managing a shot on target.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose side had scored 18 goals in their last four outings, spent most of the match furiously chewing gum and shaking his head on the sidelines.

Even the introduction of France striker Karim Benzema and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the second half failed to provide the spark to break down a dogged home defence.

The final whistle prompted boisterous celebrations among the several thousand incredulous home fans crammed into the modest arena, who chanted "Yes we can!" ahead of the return at the Bernabeu on December 18.

Olimpic's annual revenue is around 600,000 euros ($821,000), while Real's is more than 500 million and they set a record transfer fee of 100 million when they bought Wales winger Bale in the close season.

"We are not used to the pitch, the ball travels much more slowly and maybe there is a bit less space here," Real center back Nacho said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.   Continued...