Liga - Real Madrid title challenge all but over after Valladolid draw

La Liga, Nuevo Jose Zorrilla - Real Valladolid 1 (Osario 85') Real Madrid 1 (Ramos 35')

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Liga - Real Madrid title challenge all but over after Valladolid draw
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Real Madrid players react after conceding a goal against Valladolid during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Zorrilla Stadium in Valladolid May 7, 2014 (Reuters)

Valladolid scored a late equaliser to leave Real Madrid’s title challenge in tatters, with a 1-1 draw keeping Carlo Ancelotti’s men four points off the top with only two games left.

Sergio Ramos had put Los Blancos 1-0 up with a wonderful first-half free kick. But just when it looked like Real would take all three points Humberto Osario got the final touch on a goal that all but ends the capital side’s hopes of a treble.

Madrid’s misery was compounded by a hamstring injury suffered by Cristiano Ronaldo just eight minutes into the contest, although early indications are that he was withdrawn as a precaution.

On the other hand, a point was enough to lift Juan Ignacio Martinez’s struggling side out of the bottom three.

Iker Casillas was handed a rare league start, but Real Madrid started poorly, with Valladolid disrupting their passing rhythm from the off. And Los Blancos’ troubles worsened when Ronaldo was withdrawn after just eight minutes, to be replaced by Alvaro Morata.

However, Ancelotti’s men took the lead after 35 minutes, when Ramos netted his fifth goal in four games by curling a free kick from 20 yards into the top corner of Jaime’s net.

Yet as the second half progressed the home side grew in confidence, with both Carlos Pena and Javi Guerra coming close to finding the net.

But with time running out Valladolid struck through Osario, who got the final touch on a wicked corner kick delivery, guiding the ball into the bottom corner of Casillas’ net.

The result means Real now need Atletico to lose both of their final two leagues game, and Barcelona to lose to Elche at the weekend, to win the league.

KEY EVENTS

PRE-GAME – Iker Casillas has been handed a rare league start. Is Ancelotti thinking ahead to the Champions League final?

5’ CHANCE – What a chance! The cross comes into the Real Madrid box from Pena, with Guerra getting in position to head the ball towards goal. But his effort flashes just past the far post! That was inches away.

8’ RONALDO INJURY - Uh oh. Ronaldo has been brought off after just eight minutes of play. It's not apparent what his problem is but he doesn't look happy. With the Champions League final coming up, let's hope that he's okay and this is just a precaution.

35’ GOAL – He's done it again! Ramos curls a free kick into the top corner, beyond the reach of Jaime in the opposition goal. That's his fourth goal in five games!

44’ RAMOS AGAIN – Big chance for Ramos to score AGAIN! The corner kick comes into the box from Modric on the right side, but the Real Madrid defender plants his header back across goal and just wide of the far post. Close!

64’ MISSED – That was the chance! Real Madrid get pulled to the right and leave Pena with acres of space down the left. The ball comes to the fullback, who drives at the byline. But he gets caught in two minds, and blasts his pass over the bar!

66’ INCHES – Inches wide for Valladolid! Jeffren puts a wonderful left-footed cross into the box for Guerra, with the striker glancing his header just past the post. That was so close. Casillas was beaten. Real are on the ropes here!

85’ GOAL – Huge goal that has ramifications at both ends of the table! Guerra stooped to get his head on a corner kick delivery and Real's title charge is in tatters!

87’ BREAK – Oh my goodness! Valladolid have a three-on-one situation on the counter attack, but Bergdich sees his pass through to Larsson intercepted by Pepe. That was the chance to take all three points.

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KEY STATS

This is the fifth consecutive La Liga season that Real Madrid have scored over 100 goals.

Real Valladolid have now avoided defeat in each of their last 11 La Liga games at home (won: 5 draw: 5).

Before tonight Real Madrid had defeated Valladolid in their last six La Liga clashes. However, they still haven’t recorded seven in a row.

TALKING POINT – Without Bale or Ronaldo, Real Madrid lack an identity

With a full strength side Real Madrid are the most dangerous side in Europe, particularly on the counter attack. But without their two best players the rest of the team seem uncertain of how to play. They lack a plan B, and that shouldn’t be the case considering the players they have to choose from.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

MAN OF THE MATCH - Carlos Pena

Dani Carvajal was left out of the squad and his omission allowed Pena the chance to maraud up and down the left wing. He was Valladolid’s most effective outlet and Guerro should have made more of his crosses into the penalty area.

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Valladolid – Jaime 6, Mitrovic 6, Valiente 7, Pena 8, Rukavina 6, Bergdich 5, Rubio 5, Baraja 5, Oscar 4, Perez 6, Guerra 6, Larsson 5, Osorio 7, Jeffren 7.

Real Madrid – Casillas 5, Nacho 4, Ramos 7, Pepe 6, Coentrao 5, Marcelo 4, Alonso 4, Modric 5, Di Maria 6, Isco 5, Illarramendi 5, Ronaldo 3, Benzema 4, Morata 6.

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