Print Edition - 2017-12-04 | Sports
Bilbao hold Real at home
Dec 4, 2017-
Real Madrid remain eight points adrift of Barcelona at the top of Spanish League after failing to break down Athletic Bilbao in a 0-0 stalemate as captain Sergio Ramos saw the 24th red card of his career.
Earlier, Celta Vigo became the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Atletico Madrid took advantage of Barca’s stumble as Antoine Griezmann’s winner against his former club two minutes from time earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Sociedad to move to within six points of the leaders.
Real are now tied for fourth with Sevilla, who beat Deportivo la Coruna 2-0 on the day their coach Eduardo Berizzo was released from hospital just four days after undergoing an operation on a cancerous prostate tumour.
A bad day for Barca wasn’t compounded by Real cutting the gap at the top as the European champions failed to score for the third time in their last nine La Liga games in a game short of clear-cut chances in Bilbao. “We knew before the game that we could cut the gap. We deserved more today, but we couldn’t get the goal,” said Real boss Zinedine Zidane. “I am not concerned. I am disappointed for the players because, playing like that, it is hard to take. We need to think positively and, if we play in that manner, the goals will come.”
Karim Benzema struck the post with the visitors best opening inside 10 minutes, but Real also had Keylor Navas to thank for a pair of fine saves to deny Inaki Williams and Aritz Aduriz either side of half-time. Cristiano Ronaldo was kept in check by an Bilbao side that had been eliminated by third tier Formentera in the Copa del Rey in midweek with the Portuguese’s only chance coming when he clipped the outside of the post 18 minutes from time.
And Real had to see out the final five minutes with 10 men when Ramos saw red for a second bookable offence when he led with his arm in an aerial duel with Aduriz meaning he will miss the visit of his former side Sevilla to the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend.
Unlike their local rivals, Atletico closed in on Barca with their first La Liga win at their new Wanda Metropo-litano home since September as Griezmann’s return to form continued.
La Liga results
Atletico 2-1 Sociedad
Sevilla 2-0 Deportivo
Bilbao 0-0 Real Madrid
Published: 04-12-2017 09:08