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Valencia 2 Real Madrid 1: Valencia keeps Barcelona’s title challenge alive

Valencia offered new hope to title challengers Barcelona and Sevilla by winning 2-1 over Real Madrid at Mestalla. Goals by Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana were enough to secure a huge victory over Real.

It was a nightmare start for Real. With only four minutes played Zaza got the better of Keylor Navas wiith a powerful shot in the top corner. Only five minutes later Orellano put the ball away after Nani’s through ball inside the box.  A deflection off the crossbar from Munir’s shot saved Real from going down 3-0.

Madrid saw their work cut out for them and began a barrage of attacks on Valencia. Rodriguez nearly converted Ronaldo’s cross and Benzema came close with a chipped shot that had goalkeeper Diego Alves turn the ball over the crossbar.

Real were able to get back in the game just before half-time. Marcelo advanced down the left flank and crossed the ball to Ronaldo who confidently headed the ball towards goal. This was Ronaldo’s 51st goal scored through a header since 2007, a record for the top European leagues.

Zidane pushed his team forward and Real continued to add pressure. The Madrid manager tried to increase the goal threat by bringing on Gareth Bale as a substitute.  Ronaldo remained unlucky and despite his efforst could not find his second goal of the game. Later in the second half he demanded a penalty after a clash with Mangala, but the referee waved the play on.

Despite clear control of possession (72%) and continuous pressure, Real were unable to find the equalizer. Valencia’s loss will give new hopes to a Barcelona side in need of any good news after last week’s loss against PSG and the unconvincing victory over Leganes in La Liga. Luis Enrique’s team remain only one point behind Real, who has one game in hand.

Some key stats for last night’s game:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo played his 700th game for Real Madrid (in all competitions).
  • This year Real lost three games, which is more than the two games lost in all of last year.
  • Simone Zaza scored again, after his goal in the previous game against Athletic Bilbao. The two goals were as many as he had scored in his previous 23 games.
  • Fabian Orellana scored his second goal against Real Madrid this season. Himself and Joselu are the players to have scored the most against Real in the current season.

 

 

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