Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane accepts it is difficult to understand how his side threw away a winning position as relegation-battlers Levante snatched a 2-2 draw at Ciutat de Valencia.
Veteran Italian forward Giampaolo Pazzini came off the bench to net a dramatic late equaliser, not long after Isco had seemingly set Los Blancos on course for a third straight LaLiga win.
Fit-again captain Sergio Ramos headed the visitors into an early lead, but Emmanuel Boateng levelled just before half-time.
Levante goalkeeper Olazabal Oier pulled off a brilliant save to deny Ramos a second before substitute Isco eventually made it 2-1 in the 81st minute.
Pazzini, though, had the final say when he slotted past Keylor Navas with just a minute left.
The draw moves Real back up to fourth place ahead of Villarreal but well adrift of leaders Barcelona, while Levante are three points clear of the drop zone.
Zidane’s men must now regroup for the visit of Real Sociedad next weekend, which will be swiftly followed at the Bernabeu by a Champions League encounter against Paris St Germain on February 13.
“We controlled the game, especially the first half, but then after we scored the second goal, which was the most difficult, we were not able to avoid an equaliser,” Zidane said at a post-match press conference.
“It is hard because they are two points that we were not able to get, but this is football and the opponent is there to get you in trouble.
“It bothers me because we work it – we know that the opponent can hurt you on the counter-attack.”
Despite the massive 18-point gap to Barcelona, which could be extended again if the leaders win at Espanyol on Sunday, Zidane will not yet throw in the towel.
“I will always tell you that the league is not over until the end, there are many points (left),” he said, quoted on the club’s official website.
“We had tried to achieve a third straight victory, but we did not get it.
“We are frustrated because the result was in our hands and we did not get the victory, now we have a game next week and after we will think about the Champions League.”