Real Madrid suffer shock defeat at Valencia to open up title race

 Real Madrid suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at Valencia to open up the Spanish title race, opening the door for both Barcelona and Sevilla.

Zinedine Zidane’s side remain one point ahead of Barcelona with another game in-hand, but this was a chance to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga. Instead, they were made to rue a lightning start to the match by Valencia, in which they scored twice in five minutes.

Simone Zaza’s opener provided the highlight of the clash, with the West Ham flop swivelling inside the area before lashing home a stunning strike. Five minutes later January signing Fabian Orellana doubled Valencia’s lead following a rapid counter attack.

Real Madrid halved the deficit before the half time break as Cristiano Ronaldo headed home a Marcelo cross, with the visitors also bringing on Gareth Bale as they looked to take something from the game. But Valencia held on to blow the Spanish title race wide open.

TALKING POINT

Are Real Madrid’s last two away defeats reflective of a bigger problem? Real Madrid might have recently gone 40 successive games without losing, but they have now lost two of their last three away fixtures. Cracks have started to appear in their title challenge, so should Zidane be concerned with the way his team have struggled on the road of late? Have opposition sides figured out how to play against Real at home? Or should these two defeats go down as mere blips on their record?

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