REAL MADRID went within three points of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid thanks to a 1-0 win over Valladolid on Saturday.
The capital rivals square off in just two weeks’ time in what could be a huge title decider.
Casemiro struck a vital winner in the LaLiga title raceCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Real Madrid went within three points of Atletico Madrid with the victoryCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Earlier on, Atleti squandered the chance to re-energise their trophy claim when losing 2-0 at home to Levante.
And Real seized the opportunity by taking all three points at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.
Zinedine Zidane was without several key players including Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos.
But Los Blancos won a tight encounter thanks to a number of good saves by Thibaut Courtois and a second-half header from Casemiro.
The Brazilian rose highest from a Toni Kroos free-kick to net his sixth goal of the campaign.
With their fourth win in a row, Madrid went three points off Atletico, who have a game in hand, and six ahead of Barcelona, who are two games back before facing Cadiz on Sunday.
Zidane said after the match that he could not risk Karim Benzema while the French striker recovers from an unspecified injury.
Real will hope to have him fit for Wednesday’s trip to Atalanta and the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Speaking after the win, Zidane told reporters: “We are good, we are achieving consistency with our results.
“The whole team defends very well, with the ball we can do things. We travelled well and we have to rest well.
“We are going to prepare for the game on Wednesday in the best possible way.”
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