Nacho’s goal keeps Real Madrid in La Liga title race

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Real Madrid ensured the La Liga title race will go down to the final weekend as they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at San Mames on Sunday.

But it was all thanks to a second-half goal from defender Nacho Fernandez.

The result sees second-placed Real Madrid move onto 81 points, two behind city rivals Atletico Madrid, who beat Osasuna 2-1 on Sunday after two late goals.

In a first half shorn of clear-cut chances, Real Madrid were adamant they should have had a penalty kick when Alvaro Odriozola’s cross hit Jon Morcillo’s arm.

However, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away the protests.

Athletic Bilbao almost opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, but Alex Berenguer’s free-kick bounced just wide of Thibaut Courtois’ far post.

Casemiro had a header bounce back off the crossbar shortly after the restart.

The Brazilian midfielder, however, then teed up defender Nacho from close range to give Zinedine Zidane’s side priceless three points.

Substitute Raul Garcia was sent off late on for the hosts for what appeared to be something he said to the assistant referee.

“Obviously we wanted to win, and for Atletico Madrid to drop points, but there’s a long way to go still,” Nacho said.

“They came back to win at the death and that shows things aren’t easy. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and see how it goes next time out (against Villarreal next Sunday).

“You can see how tough it was for them to win. In the game of football anything can happen, we need to fight until the last. That’s our job.

“It’s a tough place to come and win. Athletic Bilbao give up few chances, but we were great in defence. It was more difficult up top, but we were compact and we got the three points which is all that matters.”

Reuters/NAN.

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