Real fail to cash in on Atletico slip

Real fail to cash in on Atletico slip

Ronaldo's brilliant back-heeled goal helps Madrid hold Valencia

Real fail to cash in on Atletico slip

Real Madrid failed to take full advantage of slip-ups by leaders Atletico Madrid and Barcelona when they needed a Cristiano Ronaldo volley in stoppage time to rescue a 2-2 home draw with Valencia on Sunday.

A Real win would have put them level on 85 points with second-placed Barca, who drew 2-2 at Getafe on Saturday, with a game in hand but they stayed third on 83 points with three games left.

Atletico, who like Barca have two matches remaining including the meeting between the teams at the Nou Camp on the final day of the season, are top on 88 points after they lost 2-0 at Levante earlier on Sunday.

Valencia took a surprise lead in the 44th minute at the Bernabeu when Jeremy Mathieu nodded in a Dani Parejo corner before Sergio Ramos levelled with another header in the 59th.

Parejo, a former Real player, smashed in a loose ball to restore the visitors' lead six minutes later as Valencia looked to become the first team to win at both Real and Barca in the same season since Real Mallorca in 2002-03.

But Ronaldo produced a brilliant piece of skill to volley in Angel Di Maria's centre in the second minute of added time and salvage a point for the home side.

Speaking after the game, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said Ronaldo's late strike may prove vital to the club's title chances and lamented a missed opportunity after Atletico and Barca dropped points.

"I already said that this league would be decided in the last few matches and that's how's it going to be," he told a news conference.

"It was a tough weekend for the leaders and now it's more open than ever," added the Italian, in his first season in charge after taking over from Jose Mourinho. Europa League finalists Sevilla, who knocked Valencia out in the semifinals on Thursday, are guaranteed at least sixth place and a berth in Europe's second-tier club competition for next season after they drew 0-0 at home to seventh-placed Villarreal.

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