Barcelona take ‘gigantic step backwards’ but Zinedine Zidane gets breathing space

By AFP 93s in the past

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MARDID – Lionel Messi’s Barcelona suffered a fourth Liga defeat of the season as they went down 2-1 to Cadiz on Saturday, whereas Real Madrid eased the strain on Zinedine Zidane with their first league win since October.

Barca at the moment are a distant seventh, 12 factors off leaders Atletico Madrid, who beat Real Valladolid 2-0.

“It’s a gigantic step backwards for our chances to fight for La Liga, you have to see it like that,” the Catalans’ coach Ronald Koeman stated.

“A points difference of 12 points with a team as strong as Atletico is enormous,” he added.

Koeman made three modifications from the midweek Champions League win at Ferencvaros with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen coming in for Neto.

But Ter Stegen made a primary pricey error in Andalusia after eight minutes as Alvaro Gimenez claimed his second objective in as many video games.

The Barca defence did not clear a nook which fell to Ter Stegen, but his weak parry onto his personal line was tapped in by Gimenez.

Koeman’s males had been all-square after 56 minutes as Jordi Alba’s low cross was deflected into his personal objective by defender Pedro Alcala.

But Ter Stegen’s second pricey error got here eight minutes later.

Clement Lenglet made a hash of Alba’s throw in earlier than Ter Stegen did not clear below strain from Negredo and the previous Manchester City striker claimed his third objective league objective of the marketing campaign.

Under-pressure Zidane stated Madrid’s scrappy 1-0 victory in Seville was vital after a testing run of outcomes.

Sevilla goalkeeper Bono guided Vinicius Junior’s effort into his own net in the second half, allowing Zidane’s side to take the three points and move up to third in the table, six points behind Atletico.

Following two defeats in the past three games, including a 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek that leaves Real’s Champions League qualification hopes in the balance, Spanish press reports have linked former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Madrid forward Raul to Zidane’s job.

Zidane said he was satisfied with the points after a “tough” time.

“These are three essential factors for us. It’s a well-deserved win, towards an excellent opponent, who can put you in hassle at any time. We acquired by means of this,” he said.

“It has been a bit tough recently, right this moment we have now to get pleasure from it, be joyful, but nothing extra.”

Atletico, now unbeaten in 26 games in La Liga, moved to the top of the table after France international Thomas Lemar and Spain midfielder Marcos Llorente scored for Diego Simeone’s men against Valladolid.

Atletico are among five clubs to remain without a domestic defeat in Europe’s main five leagues since the start of the season.

Real Sociedad, who have lost just once in the league this term, could regain the lead if they beat Deportivo Alaves on Sunday.



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