Andriy Lunin produced a string of fine saves as Real Madrid held on to a 1-1 draw at Cadiz, who dropped into the relegation zone as a result.
With Real Mallorca securing a dramatic win over Rayo Vallecano, only a victory at the Nuevo Mirandilla would have kept Cadiz out of the relegation zone, but Lunin – standing in for Thibaut Courtois – frustrated them.
Mariano Diaz’s early Rodrygo-inspired opener was a sign of things to come in a thrilling first half, which ultimately ended level thanks to Ruben Sobrino’s emphatic – and deserved – equaliser eight minutes before the interval.
Cadiz were comfortably the more threatening side in the second period but failed to capitalise on their chances, including a penalty that Lunin conceded and then saved.
Their future will be determined on the final day of the season.
1-1 | Final. pic.twitter.com/NmFz5KiuXL
— Cádiz Club de Fútbol (@Cadiz_CF) May 15, 2022
Starting in place of Vinicius Junior for the champions, Rodrygo embarked on a mazy run that his compatriot would have been proud of before prodding the ball to Mariano for a fifth-minute tap-in.
That lead was almost wiped out soon after, but Nacho Fernandez got back to make a vital interception before Lucas Perez could pounce on Alvaro Negredo’s pass.
Lunin’s fine save then denied Oussama Idrissi an equaliser, but the goalkeeper was helpless a few moments later as Sobrino smashed in off the crossbar from 16 yards following a weak Eder Militao clearance.
It remained a similarly open contest after the break and Cadiz wasted a glorious chance to take the lead, with Lunin saving Negredo’s penalty after he had clumsily fouled the Madrid youth product.
Lunin acrobatically saved a goal-bound Negredo header soon after, with the Ukrainian’s heroics enough to earn Madrid a point.
What does it mean? Champions take a back seat as relegation battle goes to the wire
The fact Madrid have already wrapped up the title meant LaLiga’s focus was more on their hosts here, and to be fair to Cadiz, they certainly put on a show.
Even with the draw, they looked to be going two points clear of the bottom three – but Mallorca got their winner over Rayo in the second minute of stoppage time, putting them above Cadiz thanks to their superior head-to-head record.
Cadiz drop into the bottom three. They face Deportivo Alaves – whose relegation was confirmed with defeat to Levante on Sunday – next week, while Mallorca go to Osasuna as the relegation drama extends to the final weekend.
Lunin in the mood
What a performance this was by Madrid’s second-choice goalkeeper. Granted, he conceded the penalty with a moment of clumsiness, but he made up for that with a fine stop. That was one of six saves in what proved to be a proper exhibition of his potential.
Negredo baffled by misfortune
There is not much more Negredo could have done here. The experienced striker led the line brilliantly and routinely had the better of Militao, recording four shots. Three of those were on target, highlighting how Lunin came out on top in their fascinating duel.
As mentioned, Cadiz’s relegation tussle continues against Alaves on the final day of the campaign, while Madrid close out their victorious season at home to Real Betis.
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