Rival watch: Chance to go top after Athletic beat Real Madrid

Rival watch: Chance to go top after Athletic beat Real Madrid

FC Barcelona's cup final opponents have beaten the league leaders 1-0, so the Catalans will move to top spot if they beat Rayo on Sunday

After only drawing at home to Villarreal last week, Real Madrid’s problems worsened on Saturday when they were defeated by Barça’s Spanish Cup Final opponents Athletic Bilbao at the new San Mamés. Veteran striker Artiz Aduriz headed the Basques into the lead after 26 minutes and the league leaders were powerless to find a response, their two closest chances coming when keeper Gorka Iraizoz denied Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale hit the post from long-range.

The result means that the gap between Madrid and Barça remains two points, and a win for the Catalans in their game in hand (at the Camp Nou against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday at 12.00pm CET) would put them back at the top of the table for the first time in fifteen games.

Atlético Madrid, who dropped further away from the top two after drawing with Sevilla last week, entertain Valencia on Sunday night at 9.00pm CET.

It was FA Cup quarter finals week in England, a competition Manchester City are no longer involved in, so Barça’s Champions League rivals are taking a break this weekend.

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