The trip to Atletico Madrid has become crucial for Barcelona as the Catalans were given fresh hope to fight for the La Liga title after Real Madrid suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat at Valencia on Wednesday night.
Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana at the Mestella blew the title race wide open, as Real failed to make their 72 per cent possession in the second half count.
Cristiano Ronaldo pulled Madrid closer with a header off a cross by Marcelo just before halftime, but Valencia held on the rest of the game.
Four minutes into the game, he picked up the ball inside the box after being found by a well-struck cross from the right wing.
Valencia kept that momentum going as they made it 2-0 to the good just nine minutes into the match.
"In the first 10 minutes, we lacked concentration without the ball", Zidane said after the game, per AS. Since their 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo, which bounced Los Blancos from the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid has been on a winning streak, tearing down Osasuna and Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Just six minutes after, Real Madrid are attacking trying to level the game. We were very open, and they punished us.
However, it remains unclear whether or not the 22-year-old features in Zinedine Zidane's plans at this point in time. Isco's ability to score and pass the ball makes him the ideal complement for the two England national team players. We had a chance to put points on the board but we didn't do so.
Valencia continued to play on the break but Bale and Ronaldo could not inspire Madrid to an equaliser despite some heavy late pressure. The French manager knows his team can not afford to slip up any more in the coming weeks and it looks like the race for the title will go down to the wire this time.
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