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La Liga roundup: Real Madrid held to back-to-back draw (video)

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Real Madrid’s second consecutive league draw highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona head into La Liga’s mid-season break with a two point cushion as Real Madrid were held to a draw by Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It’s Zinedine Zidane and company second consecutive draw as Los Blancos are just days removed from Wednesday’s stalemate at Camp Nou in El Clasico.

Despite controlling possession completely, Real Madrid were unable to break the deadlock. Nacho and Luka Modric each hit the crossbar, while subsitute Luka Jovic struck the post in the dying minutes of Sunday’s bout.

“I’m very disappointed for my players,”Zidane said in his post-match press conference. “They put in a lot of effort and had a good match, but we lacked a goal again. In football, it’s true that you have to score them. We had three or four in the first half where if you score then the match could be different.”

“It’s only a couple of matches without scoring, so we have to remain calm because the performance was good,” he added. “I think we’ve gotten better and we’re strong defensively. Today, we just lacked a goal, but the important thing is to create chances. After the match I spoke to the players and told them that the most important thing was that they gave their all. Today, the ball just didn’t want to go in. We hit the post three times.”

When the home side managed to put shots on target, Bilbao’s Unai Simon was there to prevent a goal. The Basque goalkeeper registered eight saves throughout the 90 minutes.

With the draw, defending champions Barcelona go two points clear of Los Blancos, who return to action January 4 when they visit Getafe, while Bilbao – now seventh on the table – go against Sevilla to start the new year.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 2-0 Espanyol 

Osasuna 3-4 Real Sociedad

Real Betis 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Levante 3-1 Celta Vigo

Real Madrid loses Modric and Marcelo to injuries in Malaga win

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The 40-game unbeaten run seems like a distant memory.

Real Madrid had lost two straight matches before a 2-1 La Liga win over Malaga on Saturday, but despite the three points, they still did lose in a way.

Los Blancos lost both Marcelo and Luka Modric to injury in the match, and both could potentially miss up to a month of time.

Modric has been in and out of the squad this season due to injuries, and during his other lengthy spell on the sidelines, he was replaced adequately by 22-year-old Mateo Kovacic, and he was the man to replace Modric against Malaga with 12 minutes remaining. Reports say the Croatian suffered an adductor injury which can be quite painful and could keep him off the field for a number of weeks.

Marcelo, meanwhile, has been a staple in the Madrid lineup, appearing in the last 11 league matches and starting all but two of those. Marcelo was brought off just 25 minutes into the Malaga win reportedly with a hamstring problem, replaced by Isco. The likely long-term replacement for the 28-year-old Brazilian would be Nacho Fernandez, who has seen time this season on both defensive flanks.

The injuries puts not just the immediate La Liga and Copa del Rey futures of the two in jeopardy, but also could affect their availability for the start of the Champions League knockout stage which begins on February 15th against Napoli.