Cristiano Ronaldo wasted a succession of chances as Real Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by 10-man Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The result completed a frustrating day for the big two in La Liga with Barcelona earlier beating Las Palmas but seeing star forward Lionel Messi ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury.
No-one epitomised Madrid’s irritation more than Ronaldo who failed time and again to find the net due to a combination of poor finishing – he had 14 shots but only two on target – and wonderful goalkeeping from Malaga’s Carlos Kameni.
And when the Portugal striker did beat the Cameroonian, in the eighth minute, he saw his effort rightly ruled out for offside.
Malaga deserved a share of the spoils for their dogged display with the only blemish the 77th-minute dismissal of Nordin Amrabat.
The onslaught started early and Ronaldo could have scored before he had one chalked off by the referee’s assistant.
Rafael Benitez’s men continued to create chances and Ronaldo again came close to breaking the deadlock in the 28th minute after a superb cross from Dani Carvajal, but his bullet header missed the target by a yard.
The away side occasionally threatened on the counterattack and Juan Carlos should have punished Madrid after being set up by Amrabat, but the defender blasted his shot over the bar from a narrow angle.
Jese was the next Madrid player to try his luck 10 minutes before the half-time whistle, only to see Kameni keep out his low shot.
Ronaldo continued to cause the Malaga defence all kinds of trouble with his clever movement but his finishing let him down as Kameni proved to be too much of an obstacle in the 36th minute.
Ronaldo did beat the Malaga goalkeeper with a stunning strike shortly before the interval, but his shot went inches wide as it remained all square after 45 minutes.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner seemed to get his goal just minutes after the restart, only to be denied by an excellent goal-line clearance from Marcos Angeleri.
Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was then called into action when Recio tried his luck with a free-kick from 30 yards out and the Costa Rican showed his class with a sublime save.
Jese then really should have broken the deadlock when he picked up a loose ball inside the area, but he somehow aimed too high, injuring himself in the process as he had to be stretchered off.
Luka Modric was next to be denied by Kameni after playing a quick one-two with Karim Benzema, before the Frenchman had a shot of his own saved by the overworked goalkeeper.
Isco managed to beat Kameni at last in the 76th minute, only for Weligton to come to the rescue and clear the ball off the line and to safety.
Amrabat received his marching orders for a moment of madness, smashing his elbow into Marcelo’s face, but it could not detract from a wonderful day for Malaga.
Saturday’s results mean Madrid are now trailing rivals Barcelona by one point, having collected 14 points from six games.
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