| Real Madrid’s Raul challenges Leonardo Ponzio of Real Zaragoza at La Romareda Stadium on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Madrid: Real Madrid had to settle for a goalless draw at Real Zaragoza on Tuesday after playing the final 20 minutes with 10 men.
Real were pushing hard for the victory they needed to move back on top of the Primera Liga standings when centre-back Francisco Pavon was sent off for a second booking on 72 minutes.
Carlos Queiroz’s side continued to press but the Zaragoza defence held out, with Argentine centre-back Gabriel Milito in outstanding form against the club that rejected him over the close season.
The result left Real in second place in the table with 20 points from nine games, a point behind leaders Deportivo La Coruna and one ahead of third-placed Valencia.
Deportivo can stretch their advantage over Real to four points if they win at home to Real Mallorca on Wednesday, while Valencia have a chance to move into second place in their home game against Celta Vigo.
Zaragoza’s best chance came as Luciano Galletti was put through on goal 10 metres out on the right side of the area only to hit the far post with his shot.
Real, once again missing injured England midfielder David Beckham, looked disjointed early on but they gradually started to dominate from the mid-point of the first half.
Ronaldo had a decent shout for a penalty when he was tugged in the area by Alvaro before Raul blasted over when well placed.
Real came close to scoring three in the space of five minutes in the second half.
With 63 minutes gone, Roberto Carlos hit the post with a low shot and two minutes later Raul could only shoot straight at ’keeper Cesar Lainez after being put clean through.
Zinedine Zidane then beat three defenders on a snaking run into the area but Lainez made another good save from the Frenchman’s low shot.
Meanwhile, a second-string Arsenal needed nine penalties to beat first division Rotherham in the third round of the English League Cup on Tuesday.
After a 1-1 regular time draw and no goals in 30 minutes of extra time, Arsenal midfielder Sylvain Wiltord scored the winning penalty for a 9-8 win after missing an earlier spot kick.
At Elland Road, Eric Djemba-Djemba scored the winner as an unfamiliar Manchester United line-up needed extra time to defeat fellow Premier League club Leeds 3-2 in English soccer’s second tier knockout competition.
Both substitute Rotherham goalkeeper Gary Montgomery and his Arsenal counterpart Graham Stack converted penalty kicks.
Rotherham goalkeeper Michael Pollitt was sent off after 11 minutes of extra time for a deliberate handball. Montgomery, who normally plays in defence, went into goal.
After Leeds and Manchester United had drawn 1-1 after regular time, Djemba-Djemba scored the winner after 27 minutes of extra time, running in to chip a corner kick over Paul Robinson’s head.
Three minutes before, Leeds had equalised to 2-2 through Roque Junior, who had also opened the scoring in the 48th minute of regular time. United had made it 2-1 when Diego Forlan chipped the ball in from a Darren Fletcher cross after 18 minutes of extra time.
The defeat capped off a bad day for Leeds, who posted the worst-ever financial results for a British soccer club, reporting pre-tax losses of £49.5 million with debt rising to £78 million.
The club is also second last in the League.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson — who watched the match from the stands because of a touchline ban — made six changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Fulham on Saturday. United beat Leeds at Elland Road 1-0 in the league 10 days ago.