Real Madrid salvaged a 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday thanks to a late Karim Benzema equaliser that Zinedine Zidane believes is proof of the team’s fighting spirit.
Valencia looked to be heading for a 1-0 win when Carlos Soler put the hosts in front with 12 minutes to go, then surviving a scare as Luka Jovic had a goal disallowed for offside.
But Madrid continued to plug away and eventually restored parity deep into stoppage time – Benzema slamming home after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was remarkably denied when his header was saved by Jaume Domenech.
As such, Madrid go into Wednesday’s Clasico against Barcelona with something of a morale boost, with Zidane suggesting the late goal highlights his team’s mentality.
“This shows you what we are, we fight until the end. We fight and what we want is to get a good result,” he told Movistar.
“We don’t lower our arms. We got it [the equaliser] with the courtesy of Courtois and Karim. I’m glad for them because it has been a tremendous effort from everyone.
“You have to be proud of the game. When in such a difficult stadium, you concede a goal a few minutes from full-time, you can fall apart, but we still thought that something could be achieved, and we achieved it.”
Club captain Sergio Ramos was less philosophical about dropping points, however, acknowledging he leaves Mestalla disappointed.
“Despite scoring at the end, it tastes a bit bitter despite adding a point. When you don’t leave with the three points, you leave with that pity,” he said.
“I think we’ve controlled the match well, with balance. We had in front of us a rival who came into the match in good form.
“We can’t press for the full 90 minutes, but we’ve gone all the way. We’ve made a point that allows us to stay joint-top.”