Real Madrid’s win streak ends at 22 after loss to Valencia
Valencia ended Real Madrid’s winning streak two shy of the world record as they came from behind to win 2-1.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead with an early penalty, but Valencia turned the match on its head with goals from Antonio Barragan and Nicolas Otamendi early in the second half.
Madrid were hunting a 23rd straight win as they closed in on Coritiba’s world record of 24 in a row, but Valencia’s impressive home record – only Barcelona have won at the Mestalla this season – proved their undoing.
Passions were raised early on, with Gareth Bale coming in for some rough treatment from Valencia.
The Welshman was fouled on the wing after 11 minutes, and the resulting free-kick was flicked on before striking Alvaro Negredo on the arm. It was a case of ball-to-hand but the referee pointed to the spot and Ronaldo once again made no mistake with his penalty kick.
The tough tackling would continue – by the end of the evening Valencia had six players booked – but the first caution came in bizarre circumstances, with Jose Gaya replacing the injured Pablo Piatti and booked for entering the pitch without permission, despite having apparently been waved on by the fourth official.
Madrid continued to push and were desperately close to a second when Ronaldo nipped in front of the goalkeeper only to fire into the side-netting from a tight angle. Bale was appealing for a penalty with the ball appearing to strike Lucas Orban’s arm on the way through.
Tempers continued to flare and Valencia wanted a second yellow card for Sergio Ramos for a rough challenge on Negredo 10 minutes before the break.
Valencia had two big chances before half-time, but Barragan’s curling effort was deflected off Pepe’s back for a corner before another deflection left Iker Casillas standing as Andre Gomes’s shot came back off the upright, but the goalkeeper sprang into action to deny Paco Alcacer on the rebound.
Having earned five yellow cards in the first half, Valencia channeled their passions after the break and were level seven minutes in.
Gaya made a superb driving run towards goal before laying it off to Barragan, whose shot found the net with the help of another deflection in the 53rd minute.
Otamendi then made two huge interventions, the first a last-gasp challenge which denied Bale what appeared a certain goal before the hour mark, and the second a towering header to send Dani Parejo’s corner into the net in the 66th minute.
It should have been 3-1 moments later as Valencia strung together a brilliant passing move, but with the hard work done, Barragan poked wide when one-on-one with Casillas.
Madrid tried to make them pay, but Ronaldo missed chances late on, including a superb save from Diego Alves at point-blank range.