Real Madrid’s dreary end to the season took another turn for the worse on Thursday, as they were left holding on for a goalless draw away to Champions League chasers Getafe.
Just 48 hours before Barcelona are set to be celebrating a 26th La Liga title at Camp Nou, Madrid drifted to a stalemate that leaves them 15 points behind the soon-to-be champions with significant ground to make up.
It says something that Getafe were, in the end, disappointed not to win, with Sevilla’s 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid before kickoff meaning that they stay fourth, only by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.
Real Madrid were mathematically ruled out of the title race after Barcelona beat Deportivo Alaves on Tuesday, while Atletico Madrid also look likely to finish above them for a second consecutive year.
Zinedine Zidane has insisted that La Liga would be the club’s “bread and butter” next season, their priority ahead of the Champions League after seven years with only one league title to their name.
However, they have work to do, with very few of his squad showing many reasons to keep them this summer and several more looking like they could be replaced.
“The shame today is we deserved more,” Zidane said. “We created chances, in the first half especially. I am not happy with the result, but with the way we played, our concentration, I am happy.”
Getafe still have a lot to play for. If they snatch a Champions League spot, it would be one of the greatest shocks La Liga has seen in years, perhaps even trumping Atletico Madrid winning the title in 2013-2014.
Their average attendance is just less than 10,000, while the club’s wage bill stands at a little less than 40 million euros (US$44.56 million).
Madrid’s is close to 570 million euros.
Karim Benzema skewed wide of the far post with 62 seconds on the clock and Madrid hardly created a better chance for the rest of the half.
Gareth Bale started and was greeted by silence rather than the whistles that have accompanied him at the Santiago Bernabeu in the past few weeks, but he looked low on confidence, a shadow of the player he can be.
Bale pulled back for Benzema, who could only find the hands of David Soria on the slide while Casemiro had an instinctive effort blocked from close range.
Getafe were largely untroubled, even if they lacked creativity, their best opening coming from a free-kick that Mauro Arambarri caught, but Keylor Navas was equal to.
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in
Taiwan Steel on Sunday took sole possession of the top of the Taiwan Football Premier League standings for the first time this season after a 9-2 thrashing of Taipower in a title showdown in which man-of-the-match Marc Fenelus scored four goals and provided two assists. In a match billed as the season’s key battle between the league’s two leading teams, both on 36 points, Taipower’s players wilted under the pressure and got blown away by an outstanding display from Taiwan Steel, who cruised to their ninth consecutive victory. Taiwan Steel opened the scoring within five minutes in the rain in Taoyuan when
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very