Real Madrid’s hopes of extending their lead at the top of the Spanish Liga were hit by a 2-1 defeat at Valencia tonight.
Zinédine Zidane’s pacesetters were undone by early goals from Simone Zaza and Fabián Orellana, and although Cristiano Ronaldo replied on the stroke of half-time they could not avoid an untimely setback at lower mid-table Valencia.
The result, earned by Zaza’s brilliant fourth-minute shot on the turn and Orellana’s finish to a fast break five minutes later, lifted Valencia into 14th position while the visitors stayed a point clear of Barcelona, with Sevilla a further two back in third. Ronaldo’s 44th-minute header was his 15th Liga goal in 18 games this season.
14/15 👉 2-1✅15/16 👉 2-2➖16/17 👉 2-1✅
Valencia are now 3 seasons unbeaten at Mestalla against Real Madrid in #LaLiga! #ValenciaRealMadrid pic.twitter.com/FbXNQB7A7V
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) February 22, 2017
The fixture was rearranged because of Madrid’s FIFA Club World Cup exploits in December and the leaders still have another match in hand on their title rivals.
Madrid’s 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions, dating back to 6 April 2016, had ended with a last-gasp 2-1 reversal at Sevilla on 15 January. That result included, the Merengues – chasing their first Liga championship since 2011 – have now lost three of their last nine matches, being eliminated from the Copa del Rey in the process.