The title race got a lot more interesting as Atletico Madrid thrashed league leaders Real 4-0 in the capital’s clasico on Saturday.

 

Diego Simeone’s side won comprehensively, as the ‘BBC’ (Bale, Benzema & Cristiano) failed to register a single shot on target.

 

Barcelona tightened the screw with a vintage display at the San Mames the following night, running out 5-2 winners to shorten Real’s lead to a point. Atletico in third trail Real by four points.

 

Real reel as Atletico advance Fred Pentland remembered.

 

Fatigue seemed to have got the better of Real, whose derby defeat came three days after a 2-1 win over Sevilla, where Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez succumbed to injury.

 

Ramos is out for three weeks with a torn hamstring but https://synecoretech.com James’ broken toe will see the Colombian skip the key clash with Barça on the 22nd of March as well as the Round of 16 and probable Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Champions League.

 

So Real are once more ‘in crisis’ according to the press, emboldened by Carlo Ancelotti throwing them the biscuit that this was his worst defeat as a manager.

 

Normal service should be resumed this weekend at home to Deportivo La Coruna, but their European tie away to Schalke on the 18th is the real test. Losing the versatile James is a blow, but a knight in shining armour in the form of Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard might get an unexpected chance to impress.

 

* Cristiano Ronaldo turned 30, though his birthday bash had the unfortunate timing of a few hours after the debacle at the Manzanares. After showing a lack of spirit on the field, he and his well-munerated colleagues had no trouble letting off steam at the party, which drew …