Both Madrid clubs struggle as title pressure builds
Real are held at home by Valencia while Atletico slip to shock defeat at Levante
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a chance to score a late winner against Valencia last night. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters
Real Madrid failed to take full advantage of slip-ups by leaders Atletico Madrid and Barcelona when they needed a Cristiano Ronaldo volley in stoppage time to rescue a 2-2 home draw with Valencia on Sunday.
A Real win would have put them level on 85 points with second-placed Barca, who drew 2-2 at Getafe on Saturday, with a game in hand but they stayed third on 83 points with three games left.
Valencia took a surprise lead in the 44th minute at the Bernabeu when Jeremy Mathieu nodded in a Dani Parejo corner before Sergio Ramos levelled with another header in the 59th.
Parejo, a former Real player, smashed in a loose ball to restore the visitors’ lead six minutes later as Valencia looked to become the first team to win at both Real and Barca in the same season since Real Mallorca in 2002-03.
But Ronaldo produced a brilliant piece of skill to volley in Angel Di Maria’s centre in the second minute of added time and salvage a point for the home side.
Earlier, Atletico Madrid squandered a chance to all-but wrap up their first La Liga title since 1996 when they crashed to a surprise 2-0 defeat at Levante on Sunday.
Victory for Diego Simeone’s side in Valencia would have meant they needed only a win at home to Malaga next weekend to secure top spot and render their final match at Barcelona the following week irrelevant.
However, an own goal from Filipe Luis in the seventh minute and a neat finish from David Barral 21 minutes from time meant Atletico failed to take advantage of Barca’s 2-2 draw at home to Getafe on Saturday. With two games left, Atletico lead on 88 points, three ahead of Barca.