Real Madrid CF
Real Madrid CF
Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia: Gap at La Liga summit now four points as Guaita produces heroics in visiting goal to earn battling draw
Mourinho’s side were held to an entertaining goalless draw at the Bernabeu where both teams struck the woodwork in a truly compelling match
By Daniel Quinton-Navarro
Real Madrid dropped points for the third time this season at the Santiago Bernabeu as a determined Valencia side held them to a thrilling goalless draw, the first time in 42 league games stretching back to the 2006/07 season against Real Betis that Los Blancos have been involved in a nil-nil draw at home in La Liga.
Vicente Guaita produced an inspired performance to ensure Los Blancos failed to reestablish their six-point lead over Barcelona at the summit of La Liga, as the Valencia custodian denied Karim Benzema with a miraculous double save late on.
Earlier Cristiano Ronaldo had struck the post, whilst Tino Costa and Ricardo Costa were also denied by the woodwork as neither side were able to find the winning goal, and the gap at the top is now only four points.
Having already threatened Guaita with an instantaneous shot on the turn, Ronaldo beat the Valencia stopper with a rasping drive early in the contest. He set himself superbly only to see the ball hammer back off the upright, before Sofiane Feghouli came close with an effort that flashed wide of the target.
In a frantic opening, Madrid reasserted their dominance and a superb move led to Ronaldo having another sight of Guaita’s goal. Mesut Ozil’s beautiful through ball found Benzema, whose back heel gave the Portuguese international a chance to test Guaita, who made a smart save down low to his right.
Valencia then burst back into the match as Marcelo’s loose ball invited Tino Costa to drive towards goal. Iker Casillas parried the shot away presenting Ricardo Costa with a glorious chance, but he inexplicably hit the post with his header from six yards out.
And Casillas needed to be alert again when Feghouli wriggled free in the penalty area before finding Pablo Patti. The Argentine’s first-time effort was kept out by the Spaniard’s strong hand as the match remained goalless at half-time.
Jose Mourinho introduced Angel Di Maria at the break and the Argentine had an immediate impact threading the ball through to Ronaldo. The former Manchester United man dragged the ball onto his left foot before bringing out a fingertip save from Guaita, all within 27 seconds of the restart.
Tino Costa then lined up an audacious effort from 30 yards out that he connected with superbly. The shape of the shot saw the ball crash back off the crossbar as the intensity of the match suddenly increased once again.
Chaos erupted as tempers flared from both teams, until Benzema’s first time pass suddenly set Ronaldo clear, but the Portugal international clipped his own heel as he looked to set himself.
Valencia came close next, as Jeremy Mathieu struck across goal with venom and narrowly missed Casillas’ far post.
Guaita then proved to be an immovable object as he turned Di Maria’s effort over with a flying stop before incredibly denying Benzema with a truly stunning double save as Madrid failed to find a way through.
The match finished in frantic fashion as Los Blancos’ search for a winner gifted first Pablo Hernandez and then Jordi Alba a sight of their goal but neither player was able to find the back of the net.
Benzema had a glorious chance to become a hero deep in injury time but his goal bound effort was hacked clear off the line by desperate defending from Valencia who hung on to secure an incredible point, meaning Barcelona trail by just four points at the top of La Liga.
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Real Madrid CF
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