Zidane’s men lost to Valencia at the Mestalla, a step back in their title chase
Real Madrid were left stunned at the Mestalla Stadium as a defiant and plucky Valenciasideheldonfora2-1victoryagainst Zinedine Zidane’s men. The visitors found themselves trailing 10 minutes in as goals from Simeone Zaza and Fabian Orellana handed Vora’s side an unexpected lead. Real fought back, clawing one back through Cristiano Ronaldo’s late first-half header, but the league leaders were unable to find an equaliser and remain just one point ahead of rivals Barcelona. Here’s three things Madrid have to worry about:
MADRID’S CREDENTIALS QUESTIONED
After falling two goals behind in the opening 10 minutes, tonight’s game quickly progressed into the biggest test yet of Madrid’s champions credentials. The visitors had the opportunity to pull four points ahead of rivals Barcelona, against a side that has struggled this season, but failed to effectively respond to Valencia’s early lead. Madrid threw everything at their opponents but, on this occasion, sheer grit and defiance was enoughtoseeoutvictoryforVoro’smen.For all their class and talent. Madrid have taken a sizeable psychological blow tonight and offered their title rivals hope.
JAMES FAILS TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITY
The Colombian was handed a rare start underZinedineZidanebut,whenpushcameto shove, the 25-year-old struggled to deliver. James slipped under the radar for much of the game, failing to dictate the run of play as others around him put in the hard work. It’s game like these, against lesser sides such as Valencia, where the Colombia international should be proving his worth to the side. More is needed from him.
CR7 NEEDS TO SHARE RESPONSIBILITY
Despite offering the visitors hope with his late first-half goal, Ronaldo was unable to provide a solution to his side’s woes tonight. Frustration appeared to get better of him on multiple occasions as he sought to take on Valencia single-handedly. But this mentality played against Madrid. In scenarios where he should have opted to pass and move on play, the 30-year-old went for it alone, letting loose with a number of wild and off-target shots.