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Real go out to defend lead

Real Madrid's lead at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga was reduced to just four points following a 0-0 draw with third placed Valencia.

sports Updated: Apr 09, 2012 23:30 IST
Spanish Primera Liga

Real Madrid's lead at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga was reduced to just four points following a 0-0 draw with third placed Valencia.

Madrid were held by Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium Sunday night in a thrilling game that deserved more goals, Xinhua reported.

However, some fine work by Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and his Madrid counterpart Iker Casillas as well as the woodwork assured a clean sheet.

Barcelona's 4-1 win away to Zaragoza Saturday means the Catalans have narrowed Madrid's lead from 10 points a month ago, to just four with seven games remaining this season.

Spicy midweek
A midweek programme brings no respite to the battle for La Liga, as Barcelona entertain Getafe on Tuesday while leaders Real Madrid make the short trip to city rivals Atletico on Wednesday.

With seven games remaining and a trip to the Camp Nou later this month, Madrid cannot afford any more slip-ups after a 10-point gap over their rivals has been reduced to four in less than a month.

In that period Madrid have won just two out of five, drawing three matches, while Barca have been victorious in their last nine league outings.

The Catalans came from behind to beat Zaragoza 4-1 on Saturday while 24 hours later Madrid were ineffective in attack as they drew 0-0 at home to Valencia.

Barca midfielder Thiago Alcantara was quick to send out a message to Madrid after Saturday's hard fought victory.

“Madrid will have to sweat blood to win this league," he said, as the two sides move closer to their April 21 showdown.

Close on heels
Barca’s opponents Getafe, who sit 10th and only one point from a Europa League place, were the first of only two teams to defeat them this season.

That 1-0 defeat in November has only been followed by a 3-2 loss at Osasuna in February, as Barca have scored a club record 161 goals in 54 matches in all competitions.

They will be without Cesc Fabregas on Tuesday after he picked up his fifth yellow card against Zaragoza, while Gerard Pique and Dani Alves are both doubts with muscular problems.

Atletico Madrid will look to do Barca a favour in Wednesday's “Madrileno” derby.

Real stretched their unbeaten streak against Atletico to 22 matches in November with a 4-1 home victory and Atletico have not managed to beat their great rivals this century. Their last win came back in 1999.