Image: Sports Illustrated

Real Madrid missed an opportunity to extend their lead on the summit of the Spanish La Liga following a shocking 2 – 1 defeat to Valencia in a rescheduled La Liga game on Wednesday night at the Estadio de Mestalla.

Two early goals from new signings Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana handed a vital 2 – 1 La Liga victory to Valencia to ensure the former relegation strugglers move to 14th place on the log.

The Madrid/Valencia tie was rescheduled due to Madrid’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan last December. A win for Madrid who still have a game in hand would have seen them extend their lead over Barcelona to four points while a win in the other rescheduled fixture would have seen them gone seven points clear.

Valencia opened scoring through Simeone Zaza after just four minutes. The former Juventus and West Ham striker scored from inside the area, spinning and shooting into the top corner which left Navas with no response. Zaza, who failed to score in 11 appearances for Juventus joined Sevilla in January.

The lead was doubled five minutes later by Fabian Orellana. The Chilean winger who joined Sevilla recently on loan from Celta Vigo finished off a flowing counter-attack and pass from former Manchester United winger, Luis Nani for the second.

Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back for Madrid in the 44th minute. The 2016 Ballon D’Or winner rose to a towering header from Marcelo’s pinpoint cross. It was Ronaldo’s 700th club appearance in his career.

Gareth Bale replaced James Rodriquez some minutes into the second half to make his second appearance for Madrid after a three-month injury layoff. Bale’s goal-bound headed attempt to was blocked by Valencia’s Enzo Perez.

The loss means Los Blancos have now failed to win at the Estado de Mestalla in their last three league visits.

Last season, the 2 – 2 draw at the Mestalla was Rafa Benitez’s last game in charge and in the penultimate season, Madrid, managed then by Carlo Ancelotti lost 2 – 1 at the same venue.

The last time Madrid won a Primera Liga game at the Mestalla was in December 2013 when they won 2 – 3.

Real Madrid remain on top of the log with 52 points with an outstanding game in hand.

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Author: Timilehin Boyinde

Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.