Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed his side’s patience and refused to criticize his misfiring forwards after they struggled past Al Jazira 2-1 in Wednesday’s Club World Cup semifinal in Abu Dhabi.
The opening 40 minutes saw Madrid take 17 shots, and have two goals disallowed, before Dubai-based Al Jazira took the lead. Even after Cristiano Ronaldo’s equalizer early in the second half Zidane’s side struggled to convert the chances which kept coming their way. Eventually, Gareth Bale scored just moments after coming on as a substitute.
Asked at the postgame news conference to explain how his side could have 18 shots in the first 45 minutes, but still go into half-time behind, Zidane would only say it had been “strange” and praised his team for staying patient and getting the win in the end.
“The team suffered, but football is like that,” Zidane said. “There is very little I can explain, I can just say we deserved our win, and to pass to the final. The first half was very strange, with so many chances, but not scoring.”