Valencia's players celebrates after the Spanish league football match Valencia CF vs Real Madrid CF at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on February 22, 2017.<br />JOSE JORDAN / AFP
Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana blew the La Liga title race wide open as Valencia beat leaders Real Madrid 2-1 on Wednesday.
Italian striker Zaza had broken down in tears after scoring his first goal since May at the weekend, but showed his confidence is suddenly sky high with a brilliant volleyed finish to open the scoring.
Orellana then finished off a flowing counter-attack, but Cristiano Ronaldo halved Madrid’s arrears with a towering header from Marcelo’s cross a minute before half-time.
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane introduced Gareth Bale off the bench on just his second appearance after a three-month injury layoff for the final half hour.
And the Welshman nearly rescued a point when his header from point-blank range was blocked by Enzo Perez a minute from time.
Defeat leaves Madrid still just a point clear of Barcelona at the top of the table and now with just one game in hand over their title rivals.