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Valencia end Real Madrid’s winning streak

la_liga_logoValencia ended Real Madrid’s remarkable winning streak as they came from behind to win 2-1. Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead with an early penalty, but Valencia turned the match on its head with goals from Antonio Barragan and Nicolas Otamendi early in the second half.

Madrid were hunting a 23rd straight win, but Valencia’s impressive home record – only Barcelona have won at the Mestalla this season – proved their undoing. Passions were raised early on, with Gareth Bale coming in for some rough treatment from Valencia. The Welshman was fouled on the wing after 11 minutes, and the resulting free-kick was flicked on before striking Alvaro Negredo on the arm. Ronaldo once again made no mistake with his penalty kick.

Madrid continued to push and were desperately close to a second when Ronaldo nipped in front of the goalkeeper only to fire into the side-netting from a tight angle. Valencia had two big chances before half-time, but Barragan’s curling effort was deflected off Pepe’s back for a corner before another deflection left Iker Casillas standing as Andre Gomes’s shot came back off the upright, but the goalkeeper sprang into action to deny Paco Alcacer on the rebound.

Having earned five yellow cards in the first half, Valencia channelled their passions after the break and were level seven minutes in. Gaya made a superb driving run towards goal before laying it off to Barragan, whose shot found the net with the help of another deflection in the 53rd minute.

Otamendi then made two huge interventions, the first a last-gasp challenge which denied Bale what appeared a certain goal before the hour mark, and the second a towering header to send Dani Parejo’s corner into the net in the 66th minute. It should have been 3-1 moments later as Valencia strung together a brilliant passing move, but with the hard work done, Barragan poked wide when one-on-one with Casillas.

Madrid tried to make them pay, but Ronaldo missed chances late on, including a superb save from Diego Alves at point-blank range.