Real Madrid lost 2-1 at Sevilla on Wednesday in the aftermath of their stinging Clasico defeat as they slipped behind in the title race, while Atletico Madrid and Barcelona kept winning to move ahead of their rivals in the standings.
Cristiano Ronaldo put Madrid in charge with his La Liga-leading 27th goal of the season in the 14th minute, but Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca scored twice, in the 19th and 73rd, to complete the comeback.
Real Madrid’s loss came four days after they squandered a chance to effectively end Barcelona’s title defense, with Lionel Messi out-dueling Ronaldo by scoring a hat-trick for a thrilling 4-3 win in the Spanish capital.
The consecutive losses came after Carlo Ancelotti’s side had gone undefeated for 31 straight matches.
“We have to keep working, fighting and ask our fans for forgiveness,” Real Madrid fullback Marcelo said. “It’s tough to do what we did, to keep winning for so many games. We have lost two games. They aren’t more important, but they are critical. Now everything is much more difficult.”
Diego Costa’s second-half header gave Atletico a 1-0 victory at home over Granada as they moved three points clear of the city rivals with eight rounds remaining.
Lionel Messi and Neymar helped Barcelona stay one point behind Atletico as they rose to second place, but the 3-0 win over RC Celta de Vigo came at the cost of goalkeeper Victor Valdes tearing a right-knee ligament.
“I am happy for the goals and for having won the other day at the Santiago Bernabeu, [but] the victory is sad because of Valdes’ injury,” Neymar said.
Ronaldo struck first at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan when his free-kick took a deflection off the arm of Bacca, catching goalkeeper Antonio Bastos out of position and helpless as he watched the ball float into his net.
However, Bacca equalized from Jose Antonio Reyes’ pass after Xabi Alonso had lost possession. Madrid then wasted several chances and Sevilla tilted the match in their favor in the second half when Ivan Rakitic used superb control, before playing Bacca clear to beat goalkeeper Diego Lopez for the winner.
Sevilla extended their winning streak to six straight games as they remained in fifth place.
Atletico stayed unbeaten at home in the league this season after limiting Granada’s attack with their stout defense, before Diego Costa turned home Jose Sosa’s corner-kick in the 63rd minute.
Earlier at the Camp Nou, Valdes’ right knee buckled after a routine save in the 22nd minute and he had to be stretchered off the pitch. The club later said he would need surgery, which would rule him out for the season and for the World Cup finals.
Also on Wednesday, Rayo Vallecano de Madrid beat CA Osasuna 1-0 thanks to Joaquin Lavirrey’s 90th-minute penalty to edge away from the relegation zone.