Real Madrid’s hopes of overtaking Barcelona at the top of La Liga suffered a severe blow on Sunday, when Malaga held the giants to a 1-1 draw at La Rosaleda.
Holders Barcelona extended their lead over Zinedine Zidane’s men to 10 points with Saturday’s victory over Las Palmas, meaning Madrid, missing injured striker Karim Benzema and the suspended Raphael Varane, could ill-afford a slip-up on the south coast.
Having survived early Malaga pressure, all looked to be on track for Madrid who saw Cristiano Ronaldo – in the absence of Benzema and Gareth Bale due to injuries – open the scoring and falter from the spot within six first-half minutes.
Buoyed by Carlos Kameni’s penalty heroics, Malaga were in command against an out-of-sorts Madrid after the break and were back level when centre-backs Weligton and Raul Albentosa combined for the latter to level after 66 minutes.
Malaga have beaten Atletico Madrid and ran Barca close in defeat at La Rosaleda recently and Javi Gracia’s men kept their European hopes alive with a hard-earned point against another of the title hopefuls.
Perhaps fatigued from their Champions League win at Roma in midweek, Madrid’s chances of breaking Barca’s domestic dominance now appear slim at best.