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Real Madrid slip behind Barcelona after Athletic draw

It was Real Madrids third draw in a row.

Bengaluru, December 23: Former champions Real Madrid were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Athletic Bilbao in the final game of 2019 La Liga season as they slipped two points behind leaders Barcelona who had earlier trounced Deportivo Alaves 4-1.

It was Real Madrid's third draw in a row after 1-1 and 0-0 stalemates away to Valencia and Barcelonaa respectively, games in which they also played well but lacked composure in front of goal.

The draw left Zidane Zidane's second in the La Liga standings on 37 points after 18 games, two behind Barcelona while Athletic are seventh with 28.

Results | Points Table | Fixtures

The La Liga will resume after the winter in the New Year with Real Valladolid hosting Leganes on January 3.

Brave Athletic

Brave Athletic

Athletic, who beat champions Barcelona earlier this season, gave an astute performance in defence and also gave their hosts a few scares, with Kenan Kodro having a goal ruled out for offside and Inaki Williams forcing Thibaut Courtois to make a diving save.

Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano did not shy away from the fact that fortune had favoured his side, who have not won at the Bernabeu since 2005. "To get anything from here you have to have a bit of luck, but we ended the game very well," he said.

Annoyed Real

Annoyed Real

"I feel bad for the players because of the effort they put in. We're annoyed that we couldn't score with all the chances we had," said Real coach Zinedine Zidane.

"The ball isn't going in for us at the moment, but there's no need to be pessimistic. We've to remember this has been a good season for us. We've had a little bit of a sour ending to the year but we can't wait for 2020 to start."

Missed chances

Missed chances

The result followed a familiar pattern for Real who had chances like in the El Clasico against barcelona, but failed convert them.

Real's top scorer Karim Benzema had a shot cleared off the line in a lively first half while Toni Kroos came within inches of scoring when he waltzed through the defence and hammered a shot which Athletic keeper Unai Simon deflected on to the bar.

Messi magic

Messi magic

Earlier, powered by a glittering show from Lionel Messi, who scored 50th goal in 2019, champions Barcelona beat Alaves 4-1.

Messi goes into the winter break as La Liga's top marksman with 13 goals ahead of Real's Benzema on 12.

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Story first published: Monday, December 23, 2019, 12:14 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 23, 2019
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