Still life in La Liga title race.
The result was hardly one which will blow the title race wide open, but Real Madrid’s home draw with Malaga ensures that Barcelona are not quite out of the hunt for a fourth consecutive La Liga title.
In many ways, it’s the kind of result which has been on the cards for couple of months, with Real Madrid having been forced on numerous occasions to come from behind, or grind out a narrow victory.
Their 4-1 home win against Athletic Bilbao could so easily have been a different story had Athletic doubled the early lead which they had deservedly established in the game. Two penalties by Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game in Real’s favour after the break, by which time Athletic Bilbao had been reduced to ten men.
Only a week later, another early second half goal by Ronaldo helped Real Madrid come from behind to earn three points against Real Zaragoza, and it was a penalty scored by Ronaldo in first half injury time versus Levante that denied the visitors a half time lead at the Bernabeu. Even after the earlier sending off of Vicente Iborra, Levante kept themselves in the contest until Karim Benzema put Real 4-2 ahead.
Real Madrid’s away form has also been far more about points than performances in recent weeks, with all four victories on the road during 2012 achieved by only a single goal – a contrast from the margin of their away wins during the first half of the season.
Jose Mourinho’s side are still huge favourites to win La Liga, and there won’t be too much worry that they’re now only eight points clear of Barcelona.
Barcelona are keeping the pressure on, and Pep Guardiola’s men have been in consistent form since originally falling ten points behind the league leaders in January.
And with Real Madrid yet to visit three of the grounds that have cost Barcelona points this season, as well as a fixture against their Madrid rivals at the Vicente Calderon next month, there is still potential for a late twist in the race to be crowned Spanish champions.