Gareth Bale scored a blistering long-range strike to help Madrid brush aside Elche 3-0 at home, and Barcelona was unable to match that with a win. Instead, it was overrun by Sociedad’s dynamic attack led by forwards Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela.
Four days after affirming its European credentials by toppling Manchester City, Barcelona slumped to a stinging 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad to relinquish the provisional Spanish league lead to Real Madrid on Saturday.
Barcelona’s defeat confirmed the change in course in the league title race over the past two months, leaving Madrid in command and waiting to see if Atletico can keep up when it visits Osasuna on Sunday. After starting the season with 13 wins and a draw, Barcelona has dropped points in four of its last seven games.
The loss left Barcelona three points behind Madrid, the first time it has trailed its fierce rival this season. Atletico is also three points behind Madrid before it plays on Sunday.
Madrid will visit Schalke 04 on Wednesday in the Champions League final 16 enjoying an unbeaten streak of 26 games in all competitions. Madrid then plays at crosstown rival Atletico next weekend in a highly anticipated league meeting.
CARLO ANCELOTTI ON RONALDO BAN
Cristiano Ronaldo‘s suspension was a whole mess from the beginning. A mess that clearly has Carlo Ancelotti a bit angry:
“No one is happy with this situation. I don’t find his suspension normal or the fact that they didn’t reduce it one game nor that they waited until 2:00 pm to let us know that Cristiano wasn’t allowed to play. This is unbelievable. Nothing happened from a practical point of view because we won playing well but about this situation, I don’t understand it and I won’t forget it.”