Exhausted by coronavirus infections, Real Madrid were held 0-0 at home by Cadiz in the Spanish league on Sunday to end their 10-game winning streak in all competitions.
Jorge Molina scored three times in Granada’s 4-1 win over Mallorca to become the oldest player _ at 39 years and 241 days old _ to achieve a hat trick in Europe’s top five leagues.
The stalemate against Cadiz leaves Madrid six points ahead. It came a day after second-placed Sevilla took Madrid advantage by beating defending champions Atletico Madrid 2-1.
Carlo Ancelotti was without Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Marcelo and backup keeper Andriy Lunin due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Modric’s place in the starting 11 is undisputed as forwards Rodrygo and Asensio share the time in Ancelotti’s rotation. Formerly star Bale and Marcelo are rarely used replacements.
Cadiz, struggling in the relegation zone, frustrated Madrid by lining up nine players on two tight lines in front of their area. When Madrid managed to clear their way, goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma was there to save the visitors.
“We managed to make it a lousy game,” Cádiz coach Alvaro Cervera said.
Madrid didn’t come close to Federico Valverde’s long-range strike which was parried by Ledesma midway through the first half. Ledesma also did well to block Karim Benzema’s late free kick.
“When you’re playing against a team that’s going out of business, you need attackers who can go looking for crosses. And we don’t have players like that, ”said Ancelotti. “I’m not saying I don’t want Benzema on my team, I always want him of course, but he’s not that type of player.”
Cadiz upset Madrid last season by winning 1-0.
Substitute Alvaro Negredo nearly caused another surprise when Cadiz finally managed to launch a counterattack, only for the veteran striker to ward off his strike.
The virus outbreak has given Eden Hazard a rare chance to play a full game for Madrid.
The Belgian forward, who cost Madrid 100million euros in 2019, had not started a game since September, despite being part of the squad who were embarrassed 2-1 at home by the team Moldovan Sheriff in the Champions League.
The former Chelsea star, who has suffered several injuries since moving to Madrid, has enjoyed a calm first half. He pulled off a header which Ledesma saved shortly after the reboot.
THE OLDEST ROUND OF THE HAT
Molina is the oldest player to score a league hat trick at the top of Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France, according to Opta.
The forward didn’t make his Premier League debut until the age of 29, but he went on to play extended stints with Real Betis and Getafe before joining Granada last season.
“It gives me even more reasons to continue to enjoy this sport,” said Molina. “I’m motivated to keep going as long as my body holds up. “
Molina attributed her attention to rest, proper nutrition and regular fasting for 16-hour periods as the key to extending her career.
Inaki Williams scored a brace and Oscar de Marcos hit the winner in the 90th minute to lead Athletic Bilbao to a 3-2 win over Real Betis, ending an eight-round winless streak for the Basque club .
Betis, who had won three straight league victories, remained in third place.
Bilbao hadn’t scored more than two goals in a game all season and had been plagued by their poor finishes in recent weeks.
Betis have scored goals by Nabil Fekir and Juanmi Jimenez, whose 11 goals are only second behind Benzema’s 13 in the league.
OUT OF DANGER
Dario Poveda led Damian Suarez’s cross in stoppage time to snatch Getafe a 1-0 win over Osasuna that took him out of the relegation zone.
Getafe took the well-deserved victory after being humiliated 5-0 by third division club Atletico Baleares in the Copa del Rey.