Real Madrid held by Valencia to give Atlético breathing space at summit


Real Madrid 2 Valencia 2

Real Madrid failed to take full advantage of slip-ups by the leaders Atlético Madrid and Barcelona when they needed an acrobatic Cristiano Ronaldo volley in stoppage time to rescue a 2-2 home draw with Valencia.

A Real win would have put them level on 85 points with second-placed Barça, who drew 2-2 at Getafe on Saturday, with a game in hand but they stayed third on 83 points with three games left.

Atlético, who like Barcelona have two matches remaining including the meeting between the teams at the Camp Nou on the final day of the season, are top on 88 points after they lost 2-0 at Levante earlier on Sunday.

Valencia took a surprise lead in the 44th minute at the Bernabéu when Jérémy Mathieu nodded in a Dani Parejo corner before Sergio Ramos levelled with another header in the 59th.

Parejo, a former Real player, smashed in a loose ball to restore the visitors’ lead six minutes later as Valencia looked to become the first team to win at both Real and Barcelona in the same season since Real Mallorca in 2002-03.

But Ronaldo produced a brilliant piece of skill to volley in Ángel di María’s centre in the second minute of added time and salvage a point for the home side. Ronaldo could even have won it in the dying seconds but his bullet header went narrowly wide, while Álvaro Morata also missed the target with a golden chance for the winner.

Defeat for Carlo Ancelotti’s side would have left the title in Barcelona’s hands, but the draw leaves it too close to call. Atlético know that, should they win their remaining two games, they will be champions for the first time since 1996.

Conspiracy theorists may well have noted that should the three teams win all their games prior to the final day, there exists a scenario where a Barça win over Atlético could see them hand the title to arch rivals Real Madrid.



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