Real Madrid took the Spanish title race to the final day of the season with a 1-0 win over Athletic Club on what was a dramatic day in La Liga.
Zinedine Zidane and his players had one eye on events unfolding at the Camp Nou and Wanda Metropolitano throughout with all three title rivals playing at the same time.
A low-key first half produced few opportunities for either side, although Real Madrid might have been awarded a spot kick for a potential handball by Jon Morcillo. A VAR check denied the visitors, though.
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Real Madrid made the breakthrough after 68 minutes when Nacho Fernandez deflected a Casemiro cross into the box. VAR was used to judge whether Karim Benzema was offside, but the Frenchman wasn’t interfering with play.
Athletic Club finished the match with 10 men following the red card shown to Raul Garcia, giving Real Madrid the chance to see out the result with relative ease.
The win at San Mames looked set to take Real Madrid to the top of La Liga as Atletico Madrid trailed 1-0 to Osasuna, but Diego Simeone’s side scored two late goals to keep their two-point advantage heading into the final round of fixtures of the season.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s shock defeat at home to Celta Vigo means Ronald Koeman’s side are out of title contention.
TALKING POINT - This La Liga title race is going the distance!
For a period of around 15 minutes, Real Madrid were heading to the top of La Liga with this result. Atletico Madrid, however, scored two late goals to snatch a 2-1 win over Osasuna, taking this fascinating title race to the final weekend of the season. Barcelona have finally dropped out of contention, but the two capital clubs are separated by just two points with one round of fixtures left to play. If next weekend is anything like this one, there’s still more drama to come before the silverware is handed out!
MAN OF THE MATCH - Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
This was a far from vintage Real Madrid performance, but Luka Modric was a driving force for the away side through the centre of the pitch. The Croatian was without his usual midfield partner, Toni Kroos, but still found a way to dictate things for the defending Spanish champions. He was the one who took it upon himself to push Real Madrid up the pitch. Indeed, Modric set the tone for a win that kept Los Blancos in the title race for at least one more weekend.
Athletic Club - Simon 5, Alvarez 5, Martinez 7, de Marcos 5, Balenziaga 5, Garcia 6, Vencedor 5, Berenguer 6, Morcillo 7, Williams 5, Sancet 4. Subs - Vesga 6, Villalibre 6, Garcia 2, Gomez 4, Lopez 4.
Real Madrid - Courtois 6, Odriozola 6, Militao 5, Nacho 7, Miguel 7, Modric 8*, Casemiro 7, Valverde 6, Rodrygo 6, Benzema 6, Vinicius 5. Subs - Asensio 4, Hazard 4.
27’ Penalty claim! Odriozola believes that he should have been awarded a spot kick for a handball by Morcillo. It struck the arm of the Athletic Club defender. Going to VAR! Nothing given!
60’ Off the crossbar! Inches away from a Real Madrid goal! Casemiro met Modric's corner delivery into the box, his header went back across goal, but crashed off the crossbar.
69’ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-1 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have the breakthrough and it's come from an unlikely source! Casemiro played the ball into the middle, Benzema didn't make a connection with the cross, but Nacho was behind him to deflect into the back of the net!
77’ CHANCE FOR VILLALIBRE! What an opportunity for Athletic Club to find an equaliser! The cross into the left side was magnificent, but Villalibre put his volley over the bar! He should have hit the target!
90’ Garcia sent off! Athletic Club are going to end this match with 10 men. Garcia has been shown a red card for... well, it's not quite clear. Did the Athletic forward say something?
Nacho Fernandez scored his first goal for Real Madrid since February 2020.
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