Real Madrid's Title Bid Takes A Dent
Result: Athletic 1-0 Real Madrid
Date: 7 March 2015
Venue: San Mames
Real Madrid's title bid took a blow at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday as they lost 1-0 in their La Liga clash at San Mames.
The hosts hit the front in the 26th minute as Rico floated a magnificent cross into the area that hung between Pepe and Varane, allowing Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia to rise high and head home with conviction.
Real Madrid pushed forward in search of the equaliser and seemed to find one five minutes into the second half. Isco fed Cristiano Ronaldo on the left flank and the winger teed it up perfectly for Karim Benzema who received the ball almost on the Los Leones goalline. However, Balenziaga's sliding challenge was impeccably timed and denied the French striker at the last moment.
Two minutes later the pressure continued to build as Gareth Bale made his way to the byline before squaring for Ronaldo, but Athletic keeper Iraizoz reacted quickly to palm the ball away before it reached the intended target.
Iraizoz was once again on his toes in the 74th minute as he commanded his area with authority. The keeper sprinted out to challenge Ronaldo who had just gotten in behind the defence.
Athletic came close to doubling their lead in the 77th minute. A headed clearance from Carvajal fell for Aduriz who beat Pepe in the air to send an effort at goal only to see it come off the woodwork.
In the last five minutes Los Merengues almost equalised with what would have been a sensational long-range strike. Bale launched a long shot from just past the halfway line with Iraizoz out of position, but the Welshman's effort bounced off the woodwork instead.