MADRID (AP) — Barcelona stumbled again, and Real Madrid wasn’t able to capitalize.
Madrid missed a chance to move closer to the top of the Spanish league standings after being held by Athletic Bilbao to 1-1 on Sunday.
It could have moved within six points of the lead after Barcelona drew at home against Celta Vigo 2-2 for its second consecutive setback, but Zinedine Zidane’s team struggled in Bilbao and remained eight points behind the Catalan rival after 14 matches.
“We are disappointed,” Zidane said. “We are eight points behind because we haven’t been able to score more goals. It would have been great to have reduced the gap now, but we will have other opportunities.”
Madrid is three points behind second-place Valencia, which plays at Getafe on Sunday.
Madrid also lost ground to third-place Atletico Madrid, which defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 at home with a late winner by Antoine Griezmann.
Sevilla moved to within eight points of the lead after defeating Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 at home.
Madrid controlled possession and had most of the significant scoring chances at San Mames Stadium, but it was not able to get past Athletic goalkeeper Kepa.
Also, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were denied by the woodwork.
It was the first time Zidane fielded the same 11 Madrid used when it defeated Juventus in the Champions League final this year.
Madrid defender Sergio Ramos was sent off for a second yellow card in the 86th minute. Ramos was wearing a protective mask as he returned to action after breaking his nose two weeks ago.
Midfielder Casemiro and right back Dani Carvajal will also miss next weekend’s match against Sevilla after being shown yellow cards.
Athletic, 15th in the 20-team standings, was coming off elimination to third-division club Formentera in the Copa del Rey.
Griezmann scored an 88th-minute winner as Atletico Madrid defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 to move closer to Barcelona.
“There is still a lot of league left,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.
Griezmann’s winner was a tap-in after Saul Niguez’s header went across the goalmouth toward the far post, where the France striker waited to score his fourth…