In what could prove decisive at the end of the season, Real Madrid stumbled at lowly Osasuna with a 1-0 defeat at the Reyno de Navarra stadium, dealing their title hopes a huge blow.
Two minutes after the hour mark, Javier Camuna's shot went in off the post to consign Madrid to their second defeat of the season. It could prove costly as it left them seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona who won 3-0 at Hercules on Saturday.
Since the La Liga considers the head-to-head record in the event of a tie in points at the end of the season, Real's 5-0 loss to Bara at the Nou Camp can essentially be considered a point unless Real manage to equal that score in the reverse fixture.
After a tightly contested first half, the goal came only in the second when Walter Pandiani nudged on a long ball to Carlos Aranda, whose touch set Camunas through on the edge of the area. Real's appeals for offside fell in deaf ears as Camunas' strike proved sufficient for the home side.
In a game which Madrid dominated, Ronaldo, Benzema and Mesut Ozil were all culprits of missing chances. Madrid manager Jose Mourinho rung the changes after conceding, sending on new signing Emmanuel Adebayor along with Kaka and Alonso. But they failed to create an impact and the defeat comes as a shock since Osasuna hadn't won in their last eight games. The loss leaves Real with 51 points of 21 games, behind Barcelona who have 58.
After the match, Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso admitted that the defeat was a blow but pointed out that the season is still young.
There are still a lot of points available, we have to keep on fighting, he told Spanish television.It's always a difficult place to play and we knew the first goal would be vital, it fell to them and that made it even harder.
On Saturday, Barcelona defeated 10-man Hercules 3-0 thanks to goals from Pedro and a Lionel Messi brace. Pedro opened the scoring just before half-time, but the promoted side held on till late when Javier Farinos was sent off. Barca capitalized on the man-advantage with Messi grabbing two quick goals to go seven points clear at the top.