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La Liga Review: Madrid clubs fail to keep pace with Barca

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid lost ground on champions Barcelona in La Liga’s title race as they were held to draws on Sunday.

Barca’s battling 2-1 triumph at Las Palmas on Saturday proved to be the only victory enjoyed by any team in the top five this weekend and they sit eight points clear with 13 matches remaining.

Second-place Atletico were held to a goalless draw against a stubborn and committed Villarreal, who remain handily placed in the final Champions League qualification spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed Madrid into a 33rd-minute lead at Malaga but his missed penalty shortly afterwards proved costly as Raul Albentosa converted a cross from fellow centre-back Weligton midway though the second half to claim a 1-1 draw for Javi Gracia’s team.

Madrid are a point behind Atletico, who they host in the battle for capital city bragging rights next weekend, while there was Basque derby joy for Real Sociedad.

Jonathas controlled a searching pass from Carlos Vela and hammered emphatically into the roof of the net – his 17th-minute strike enough to see off Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

The goalscorer was one of 13 players booked in a bad-tempered encounter.

Manucho and Miku were on target to cancel out goals from Steven N’Zonzi and Vicente Iborra as Rayo Vallecano twice pegged back fifth-place Sevilla to draw 2-2.

Valencia continued their recent revival with a third win in eight days across all competitions – Dani Parejo and Santi Mina on target, as they were in the midweek Europa League romp against Rapid Vienna, to secure a 2-1 win at bottom club Granada.

Sun 21 Feb, 2016
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