Barcelona given hope following Real Madrid draw

 

Barcelona can trim Real Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga to five points when they host Granada on Tuesday after the Real juggernaut took a skid in a 1-1 draw at home to Malaga on Sunday.

The setback for Jose Mourinho's side, after a brilliant last-minute freekick from Santi Cazorla, halted their 11-match winning run and gave Barca a sliver of hope they can rein in their arch rivals and secure a fourth straight La Liga title.

Real, on 71 points to Barca's 63 with 11 games left, face a tough trip on Wednesday to Villarreal, who are fighting to preserve their top-flight status after Sunday's 1-0 reverse at Levante left them three points above the relegation places.

It will be a baptism of fire for Miguel Angel Lotina, Villarreal's third coach of the campaign, hastily hired on Monday to replace the sacked Jose Molina.

"It seems to me that drawing a game is part of the competition," Mourinho told a news conference after the Malaga game.

"We all know that there are 11 matches left and 33 points up for grabs, which means the title race is still open," added the Portuguese.

"Tomorrow will be another day and on Wednesday there is another match."

Barca are trailing Real mainly due to their patchy away form, although they went some way to correcting that with a 2-0 win at Sevilla on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side have won 12 and drawn one of 13 home matches this season, scoring 53 goals and conceding just five.

On the road, by contrast, they have won seven, drawn five and lost two, managing only 24 goals for and letting in 14.

"We are this far behind because up to now we have been slipping up away from home," fullback Daniel Alves told reporters after training on Sunday.

"Getting a balance between home and away games lets you get closer in the battle for the title," added the Brazilian. "At the key part of the season we are starting to get this balance back."

Valencia strengthened their grip on third with an impressive 3-0 win at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, striker Roberto Soldado netting a hat-trick, and host bottom side Real Zaragoza on Wednesday.

Defeat brought seventh-placed Bilbao back to earth after they eliminated Premier League leaders Manchester United from the Europa League midweek and the Basque club play at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Qatar-owned Malaga, who are fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Levante, host Rayo Vallecano on Thursday with their tails up after Sunday's draw in the Spanish capital.

"We played a spectacular match, very complete, and to get a result like that, right at the end of the game and at the Bernabeu, is really nice," Cazorla told reporters.

"It's important to score but I am happier about getting a point at a stadium where nobody else has managed it this season except Barcelona," he added.

"It was the right moment for us to lay down a marker and achieve good things in big games."

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future