Real Madrid's dreams of a treble are over after they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey. A one goal victory was not enough as they succumbed to a spirited performance from Segunda B minnows Alcorcon at the Bernabeu.
The only goal came just nine minutes from time from second half substitute Rafael Van der Vaart and it was a cruel blow to the visitors who deserved to cap their historic victory over the giants of world football with a draw on Madrid's own turf.
The first half was, inevitably, all Madrid as Brazilian playmaker Kaka orchestrated everything in an attacking sens for Los Blancos. The home support expected and although Madrid huffed and puffed they never looked like blowing the house down.
Coach Manuel Pellegrini opted for an attacking lineup which included three strikers, Gonzalo Higuain, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Bernabeu legend Raul as well as Kaka as his side needed goals.
The attacking formation certainly looked to be paying dividend in terms of possession as Alcorcon simply could not find their way out of their own half, but Madrid crucially were failing to find the net. Despite some promising build up play, the final ball was simply not good enough as the Segunda B minnows coped with the threat.
In fact it was Alcorcon who could have had the lead at the interval following a fine solo run from Fernando Bejar but his shot from distance was well wide of Jerzy Dudek's goal in the end.
The second half began in similar fashion with Pepe going close but his header was inches over Juanma's bar. Then minutes later Ruud van Nistelrooy rattled the bar but still the Alcorcon goal remained in tact.
Rafael Van der Vaart, on at the break for Mahamadou Diarra, added a new attacking impetus for Madrid, linking well with Kaka and although they were camped inside Alcorcon territory, the final ball lacked the quality they so desperately needed. With time ticking away Los Merengues committed more and more players in the attacking third allowing Alcorcon to make rare forays into the Madrid half. Although they failed to trouble Dudek, the respite for the gritty but jaded defence was welcomed.
It was Van der Vaart who eventually found the breakthrough, with nine minutes on the clock, smashing a fine low drive past a sea of players from the edge of the box to beat Juanma low to the 'keepers bottom right hand corner.
If another goal was to come it would have been from the visitors as Nagore and Ernesto made lung bursting runs into the Madrid half late on but neither could provide the finish to grab a draw.
Alcorcon defended for their lives, and even with cramp setting in during the latter stages they chased and harried Los Galacticos with an admirable spirit and determined resolve and thoroughly deserved a their aggregate victory and maybe were unfortunate not to hold out for a second memorable result against the might Real Madrid in a fortnight.
It finished 1-0 in the end, a lame effort from football's supposed superstars and Real Madrid are out of the Copa del Rey at the first hurdle.
Paul Madden, Goal.com
Discuss all the latest news in the Goal.com Forums.