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Madrid slip but gain grounds in race for second as others slip

madrid vs athletic bilbao

One of those rare match days in the La Liga Santander where all the teams in the top four UCL places fail to garner maximum points from their games. However, all the top 4 sides maintained their positions going into the match day at the end of the match day.

Real Madrid FC were clear favorites to take Athletic Bilbao to the cleaners at the Santiago Bernabeu on the night, but the Los Leones came into town to spoil the party for the Los Blancos in a night that saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to the lineup and paired alongside Benzema in the attack.

Inaki Williams put Bilbao in front after a patient and incisive build up from the back that saw him face to face with the keeper and side by side with a defender after the final pass. He maintained his composure with a magnificent finesse chip that gave the onrushing Keylor Navas no chance of a save.

Fans would have thought it was just a fluke as the goal came as early as the 12th minute. Everyone would have expected Madrid to tie up the game before halftime but it took the Los Merengues 86 minutes to steal a point from the game through a shot from Modric that appeared to ricochet off Ronaldo to hit the back of the net. The extra touch was all it needed and no surprises it came from Ronaldo.

READ: Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: The likely possibilities for Los Blancos

Real Madrid escaped with a point but all three on the night would have been perfect as they still have their eyes on that second spot as they sit third. Meanwhile, Valencia also have an eye on that third spot as they sit fourth, although Getafe proved too strong to handle as they ran away 2:1 winners at the Mestalla living Valencia 1 additional point off Madrid with the defeat. A three-point gap was established.

Real Madrid FC’s city rivals Atletico Madrid now had the chance to extend their lead over Madrid with a win away to Real Sociedad at the Anoeta. The Wanda Metropolitano outfit fell short as they unexpectedly lost by three goals to nil. Their 4 points lead now down to 3 with 5 games to go. What a match day that saw Madrid falter, but still gain grounds against fellow pursuers Atletico and Valencia.

The Los Blancos clearly benefitted more from the slips of the top 4 clubs in the La Liga in the concluded match day 33 match day. Barcelona is an exception though, as that title is all but wrapped up. Ronaldo added to his goal tally, albeit not one of those goals that would fit the Ronaldo standard.