Aranzubia was the star as hosts hang on for a draw
Real Madrid failed to keep pace with league leaders Barcelona in La Liga after they were held by a resolute Deportivo La Coruna side on Saturday evening.
Los Blancos are now seven points off the pace following the 0-0 draw at the Riazor and will rue missed chances and an inspired Daniel Aranzubia for the disappointing result.The Merengues announced their attacking intentions from the first whistle but were not able to settle into an early rhythm due to a rash of fouls by the hosts.
Madrid kept coming and had the first decent chance of the match as Kaka played a neat one-two with Karim Benzema before firing a shot high and wide of the target from 18 yards.
Cristiano Ronaldo almost broke the scoreless deadlock in the 20th minute as he created space for himself before unleashing a drive that Aranzubia did well to pluck out of the air.
The Portuguese star did have the ball in the back of the net near the half-hour mark but he was correctly ruled offside.
Depor then repelled wave after wave of Madrid attacks for the next 15 minutes and were more than content to head into the half-time interval on level terms.
Jose Mourinho's men were well aware of Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Mallorca earlier in the day and came out all guns blazing to start the second half. Ronaldo forced Aranzubia into a diving save and then Kaka wasn’t able pull the trigger after a mad scramble in Depor’s penalty area.
The Galicians almost hit their illustrious visitors with a sucker-punch in the 53rd minute as Andres Guardado’s wonderful cross was mere inches away from being tapped in by Jose Sand.
The hosts’ resolute defending was starting to frustrate the capital city side as Pepe was shown a yellow card for shoving Juan Rodriguez in the back as he hurried to gather the ball.
Time was starting to become a factor for Madrid as Ronaldo’s dipping free kick was pushed away by the fantastic Aranzubia in the 76th minute.
Substitute Emmanuel Adebayor almost gave the visitors the lead moments later but his shot from close range hit the post and somehow stayed out.
Depor were now under siege as Ronaldo blew past Ruben Perez and fired a low shot that came off the post and Aranzubia did ever so well to get a touch on Angel di Maria’s eventual follow-up.
Madrid should have taken the lead in the 84th minute as Alonso picked out Ronaldo on the wing and his picture-perfect cross left Benzema with a simple tap-in; but the Frenchman was inexplicably unable to get the ball out of his feet and the best chance of the game went begging.
Depor were able to hang on after four minutes of extra time to pick up a draw against Los Blancos who will rue that the big winners on the night were Barcelona.