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Title begins to slip through Madrid's fingers

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 21/02/2016 sportyou
Se le escapa la Liga al Real Madrid © Getty Images Se le escapa la Liga al Real Madrid

The La Liga title is starting to slip away from Real Madrid. The draw earned in Málaga leaves them nine points behind Barcelona and the truth is they looked powerless to do more against opponents who deserved a better prize than the one point they finally took. Zidane's side are still not showing the robustness that a true title contender should have.

Zidane's line-up had several changes from the last one, owing to the circumstances. Isco acted as a false nine and Jesé played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in the front line. He also changed the formation of the starting eleven slightly, which affected the way they played. To put them to the test, Málaga employed intense, high-pressure tactics in the midfield and chased the visitors down in an admirable fashion all over the field.

In this scenario, the best chances fell to Málaga. Juanpi got into a position with only Navas to beat after a poor back-pass from Kroos, but kicked the ground rather than the ball, which rolled softly into the 'keeper's hands. Madrid also scared the hosts when Carvajal fed Jesé in for a one-on-one that the Canary Islander wasted.

The game was pretty much end-to-end until Cristiano Ronaldo scored, from an offside position. The goal spurred Madrid on and just two minutes later the Portuguese forward was brought down for a penalty, which he took himself, only to be thwarted by Kamani who guessed which way he was going to shoot. This error in turn stirred Málaga into action, but they came up against an inspired Keylor Navas. And, when the goalkeeper was beaten, there was Sergio Ramos to clear for a corner.

It was clear that Madrid are still unable to boss games and that they are vulnerable in their own area. Things changed little in the second half and Málaga finally got their prize when Weligton crossed and Albentosa, alone and unmarked, struck home to level the scores. The equaliser was completely fair given the run of play at that point.

As a result of hosts' goal, Madrid stepped up a gear or two again, as they always do when situations turn adverse. They penned in their opponents and could have had another penalty if the referee had seen a kick on Modric by Recio right on the edge of the area.

Málaga, 1; Real Madrid, 1

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