Carlo Ancelotti downplays draw with Rayo Vallecano in La Liga title race
Real Madrid's head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, remains unfazed despite his team's 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano following their Clasico triumph.
Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti reassured that there is 'no cause for concern' despite the draw with Rayo Vallecano, following their Clasico victory. The match ended in a 0-0 stalemate, causing Real Madrid to drop two valuable points in their pursuit of the La Liga title. Although Los Blancos had numerous opportunities to secure a late win, it eluded them, leaving them in second place, two points behind the surprising leaders, Girona, who mounted a comeback to defeat Osasuna. Barcelona also sits two points behind Madrid after their fortunate victory over Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti stated to reporters, 'In the standings, we are performing well and competing at a high level. We are also excelling in the Champions League. There is no reason for alarm. We have confidence in our abilities and will continue to perform as we always have, just as we did today.'
Ancelotti expressed disappointment with the result, emphasising that his team deserved the victory, saying, 'We are disappointed with the outcome, not our performance. It was a match that we should have won. We tried every possible way, but it didn't go our way, and we continued to strive until the final whistle.'
In this match, Ancelotti made some tactical adjustments, with the energetic Eduardo Camavinga replacing the injured Aurelien Tchouameni in the defensive midfield role, and Luka Modric taking the place of Toni Kroos.
Real Madrid dominated the match from the start, putting significant pressure on Rayo Vallecano's Macedonian goalkeeper, Stole Dimitrievski. Dimitrievski made a remarkable save to deny Fede Valverde in the early stages of the game. The match had a scare when Jude Bellingham, the league's leading scorer with 10 goals, suffered an injury to his left shoulder, but he was able to continue after a brief recovery.
The game saw several close opportunities for Real Madrid, with Fran Garcia narrowly missing a shot, and Dimitrievski making a fantastic save to deny Joselu after a pass from Vinicius Junior. Vinicius Junior's goal in the 66th minute was disallowed due to an offside call against Joselu.
As the match progressed, frustration grew for Vinicius and the Real Madrid team, with Vinicius receiving a booking for dissent. Bellingham, who had made crucial late interventions in previous matches, couldn't replicate his heroics from the previous weekend when he scored two goals against Barcelona.
The match ended on a contentious note, with Antonio Rudiger and Florian Lejeune receiving bookings after a confrontation, and Rudiger subsequently suspended for Real Madrid's next La Liga match against Valencia.
Rayo Vallecano's strong defending and solid performance resulted in an eight-match unbeaten streak in the league, with their most recent loss in early September. They now share six clean sheets with both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Raul de Tomas, a striker for Rayo, commented, 'It was a complete team effort, and we put in a tremendous amount of hard work, especially considering the challenging environment we played in.'
In other matches, Athletic Bilbao climbed to fifth place with an exciting 3-2 victory over Villarreal, with Nico and Inaki Williams scoring for the winning side in the first half. Gerard Moreno pulled one back for Villarreal in the 86th minute, and Alexander Sorloth headed home immediately after, setting up an intense finish.
Villarreal, led by Pacheta, has only won one of their last seven league games and is provisionally in 13th place, five points above the relegation zone.
Gerard Moreno commented on the match, saying, 'The first half was quite weak, and we cannot afford to play like that.' Athletic Bilbao is now four points behind Atletico Madrid, who suffered a loss to Las Palmas on Friday.