Soccer

Real Madrid's title hopes in tatters after Valladolid draw

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The Canadian Press
5/7/2014 3:56:25 PM
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VALLADOLID, Spain -- Real Madrid's Spanish title ambitions are all but over after a late equalizer by relegation-struggler Real Valladolid secured a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

Madrid lost Cristiano Ronaldo to injury early in the match and failed to create any clear scoring chances after the Portugal forward's exit. His team now trails city and Champions League final rival Atletico Madrid by four points with two games to play.

Madrid led through Sergio Ramos' 35th-minute free kick, but the visitors sat back too deep in the closing stages.

With Ronaldo on the sidelines encouraging his teammates, Madrid ultimately buckled after an 85th-minute corner kick. Humberto Ososrio headed home a deserved equalizer -- and an important goal in Valladolid's bid to avoid relegation.

"It's clear, no?" Ramos told Canal Plus when asked if Madrid's title hopes were over. "It's a shame, since we fought hard. Against a team fighting relegation it's always difficult."

Atletico leads with 88 points, Barcelona has 85 points and Madrid is third with 84. Atletico can secure the title on Sunday with a victory against Malaga if Barcelona fails to win at Elche. Atletico travels to Barcelona on the final match day.

Ronaldo seemed to pull up clutching his right leg following a long run through Valladolid's half moments before being substituted for Alvaro Morata. The Portugal forward had recently returned from a left leg injury.

With Ronaldo unavailable for free kicks, Ramos stepped up to curl a swooping right-footed shot over the defensive wall and under the bar past goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez for the Madrid defender's fifth goal in four games.

Madrid, the record 32-time domestic champion, failed to conjure up any more concrete scoring chances, with Angel Di Maria and Morata coming closest with Jimenez standing up to the few challenges.

"We had the game controlled. We didn't have the mental energy to finish these games. There were mistakes in these games" said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose team recorded back-to-back league draws after routing Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League final.

"It's going to be very difficult" to win the title, Ancelotti added.

As the Copa del Rey champion, Madrid's hopes of an elusive treble look to have been dashed. Ancelotti will now have to decide whether to play Ronaldo in the final two games or save the 50-goal marksman for the Champions League final against Atletico on May 24.

The draw moved Valladolid up to 16th in the 20-team league.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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