Courtois made decision to go forward for late corner – Real Madrid boss Zidane

Zinedine Zidane admitted it was goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ decision to go up for the corner which helped salvage a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Valencia.

Zidane’s side looked like being beaten on the east coast of Spain after Carlos Soler put the hosts in front with only 12 minutes remaining.

But Belgium international Courtois forced opposite number Jaume Domenech into a save with a header, which fell to Karim Benzema to smash home in stoppage time to claim a point which keeps his side level with Barcelona at the top of LaLiga ahead of Wednesday’s El Clasico.

Zidane told Spanish news outlet Marca: “He decided to go up and this shows that we wanted more, that we never give up.

“The equaliser is something that we put a lot of effort into. This is Real Madrid, a team that never gives up. They believed they could do it and they did.

“With everything we did, I think we deserved to score a goal that compensated with the effort of the team.

“Football is like this and you can’t complain. You have to accept what football gives you.

Real Madrid celebrate their late point
Real Madrid celebrate their late point (Alberto Saiz/AP)

“A point is little reward. In the end, we got a big result, but it’s a shame because we had a very good first half.

“They were better going forward in the second half and it was even.”

Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos was disappointed to come away from Valencia with a point, despite needing a stoppage-time leveller, and is hopeful of victory at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

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“Despite scoring late, a draw isn’t good enough for us,” Ramos said.

“When you don’t get all three points, it’s a pity. I think we controlled the match well, with balance.

“Our opponents came into (the match) full of confidence. We couldn’t press for 90 minutes, but we kept going until the end.

Real Madrid moved level with leaders Barcelona ahead of Wednesday's El Clasico
Real Madrid moved level with leaders Barcelona ahead of Wednesday’s El Clasico (Alberto Saiz/AP)

“We got a point. I think the two teams are in good form and a Clasico is a Clasico. We’ll be prepared and we’ll try to get the three points there.”

Valencia goalscorer Soler admitted that the “win got away” from Los Che.

“We go home with a bittersweet feeling, because we did an incredible job,” the midfielder told Valencia’s official website.

Carlos Soler puts Valencia ahead with 12 minutes remaining
Carlos Soler puts Valencia ahead with 12 minutes remaining (Alberto Saiz/AP)

“We were coming into this one off three consecutive victories – two in derbies and one against Ajax in which we put in a huge effort – and we had a lot of players out.

“In the end, with one shot, I don’t know what happened but they equalised. It’s a strange feeling, the win got away from us.

“They had a few chances and so did we, but they are Real Madrid and they can hurt you at any moment.”

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