Real Madrid suffered what will surely prove to be a fatal blow to their La Liga title hopes with Real Valladolid scoring a late equalizer to deny Carlo Ancelotti’s side a much-needed victory at the Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorrilla.
Madrid had gone in front courtesy of Sergio Ramos’ first-half free-kick, but Osorio’s 85th minute header leaves them a point behind Barcelona and four adrift of Atletico Madrid heading into the final two games of the season. It is a bitter blow for Madrid, whose hopes had been revived following a dramatic weekend in the Primera Division in which Barcelona could only draw against Getafe and neighbors Atletico lost to Levante. But having scored a late goal to rescue a point against Valencia on Sunday, they have now been undone in similar circumstances to drop further points. It is now the meeting of their two great rivals on the final day that looks set to decide the outcome of an extraordinary title race.
Madrid, already without Gareth Bale, suffered an early blow at Valladolid when the scorer of that goal against Valencia, Cristiano Ronaldo, was taken off after just eight minutes with an apparent reoccurrence of his hamstring injury. By that point, Valladolid had already spurned a fine chance when Javi Guerra headed wide. The hosts, badly in need of the points themselves to get clear of relegation, had another opportunity in the 18th minute. This time Oscar blazed over the bar from 15 yards.
Madrid, who had Karim Benzema and Alvaro Morata, Ronaldo’s replacement, playing up front, threatened with Angel di Maria firing wide from 25 yards. And 10 minutes before the interval they looked to have gotten a vital goal. In the absence of Ronaldo and Bale, Ramos made the most of a rare chance at a free-kick, but, although he struck it well, Valladolid goalkeeper Jaime should have done much better having gotten a hand to a shot that was far from finding the top corner. Yet Ramos may now be ruing heading over the bar with a chance to double his side’s lead before half-time.
Madrid struggled to build on their advantage after the break. With Ancelotti withdrawing Benzema and Isco for Marcelo and Asier Illarramendi, increasingly the visitors were left trying to hold what they had. Guerra almost punished them with an acrobatic effort put just wide before Osorio did find the target. From Javier Baraja’s corner, Illarramendi made a poor effort to intercept and the Valladolid substitute stooped to head past Iker Casillas, who was making his first La Liga appearance in 15 months.
If there are any positives for Madrid, it’s that their situation could have been made even more desperate. Valladolid missed a glorious opportunity to take all three points late on when wasting a three-on-one break. As it is, the single point lifts Valladolid out of the bottom three, while Madrid’s position in the three-way battle for the title now looks precarious at best.