Zinedine Zidane insisted Real Madrid’s last-gasp 1-1 draw at Barcelona did not “taste like a victory” despite the result keeping the capital club six points clear at the top of LaLiga.
Sergio Ramos’ bullet header from a Luka Modric free-kick in the final seconds of normal time rescued a point for Real and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 33 matches.
Barcelona took the lead in the 53rd minute through Luis Suarez’s header, and they should have doubled their advantage with chances which fell to Neymar and Lionel Messi.
The result – and the nature of it – seems to keep the momentum in the title race firmly with Real, but Zidane resisted the urge to be too upbeat about it.
“It is just one point, it does not taste like a victory,” the Frenchman said.
“It is a good point, and we keep picking them up. I don’t believe this is a blow for Barca’s morale. We have a six-point lead, but it does not change anything. We must keep working, this is a very long season.”
Real had the better of a lacklustre first half but Barcelona lifted themselves after going in front, with substitute Andres Iniesta particularly impressive.
Ramos’ equaliser was followed by a last-ditch goalline clearance from Casemiro to deny Suarez a second headed goal. One more win or draw for Real against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday night will equal the club’s all-time unbeaten run of 34 matches, set in the 1988-89 season.
“What stands out for me is the work of the whole team,” Zidane added.
“In the end, Sergio was there to score the goal. When they scored it lifted them. But we kept going and the heart of the team stood out again. We believed in ourselves again.
“I don’t know if the result is fair or not, but it’s what it is,” he said. “We got a point and it’s not easy to do that here.”
Modric was Real’s outstanding performer, dictating the rhythm of Real’s play and providing the killer set-piece delivery for Ramos’ leveller. “We know the importance that Luka has in our team,” Zidane said. “As always he played well. After his injury, now it seems he is back.”
Barcelona had sent the Nou Camp in delirium seven minutes into the second half when Neymar swung a free-kick into the area and Suarez found room to head past Navas from six yards for his ninth LaLiga goal of the season.
That goal put them in the ascendancy.
Jordi Alba did well to muscle Karim Benzema out of possession when a chance to shoot seemed to have opened up for the Frenchman, while Iniesta quickly exerted his influence after coming on with an hour played. First he picked out Neymar on the left of the box, and the Brazilian stepped inside Carvajal but blazed over. Then Iniesta hit the side-netting himself as Carvajal deflected his effort wide.
Iniesta’s next notable contribution was an eye-of-the-needle pass to Messi breaking right to left across the edge of the box with eight minutes to go, but the Argentine magician screwed his shot wide as he tried to angle an effort across Navas.
Ultimately, those missed chances came back to haunt Barca when Ramos headed powerfully past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Luis Enrique was disappointed to have let the victory, and the chance to cut the deficit to three points, slip away from Barca.
“We deserved to win. We could have closed the game out, we had it in our hands, but we have not achieved it,” the coach said in quotes reported on the club’s official Twitter feed.
“I am not sorry about any decisions I made. If the game had ended in the 89th minute you (the media) would not be asking me this.”