A heavily rotated Real Madrid were held by relegation-threatened Cadiz in their final away game in this season’s La Liga.
With the Champions League final against Liverpool approaching, Carlo Ancelotti decided to rest Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior while Luka Modric missed the game through suspension.
Despite this, the champions raced into an early lead, opening the scoring after just five minutes through Mariano Diaz who tapped home following a fine run and cross from Rodrygo.
Cadiz’s response was immediate and with the pressure on they created a host of chances before Ruben Sobrino finally levelled matters in the 37th minute with a deflected shot that hit the crossbar before crossing the line.
Oussama Idrissi, Alvaro Negredo and Lucas Perez all had opportunities in a one-sided first half and Real Madrid were fortunate to be level at half-time.
Cadiz continued to play with the same high intensity after the break and on the hour-mark Negredo won a penalty after being fouled by Andriy Lunin, but the goalkeeper made amends to save the 36-year-old’s spot-kick.
The hosts were made to rue such a huge opportunity as they had to settle for a point, leaving them in the relegation zone going into the final round of fixtures.
Real Madrid remain 12 points clear at the top of the table after Barcelona drew with Getafe.
TALKING POINT – BELOW-PAR PERFORMANCE FROM MUCH-CHANGED REAL
With the league title sewn up weeks ago, Carlo Ancelotti is in the privileged position of being able to rest his key players ahead of the Champions League final on May 29, while his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp cannot.
But the Real Madrid manager will be concerned by how far off the pace his side were, just three days after crushing Levante 6-0.
The Italian will be hoping for a much-improved performance when they host Real Betis in next Sunday’s final league game of the season. Victory would stand them in good stead in preparation of the huge occasion at Stade de France in just under two weeks.
MAN OF THE MATCH – OUSSAMA IDRISSI (CADIZ)
The 26-year-old worked tirelessly all evening and created a number of opportunities for his team-mates.
Cadiz: Ledesma 7, Akapo 6, Hernandez 6, Fali 6, Espino 7, Sobrino 7, Fernandez 6, Alcaraz 6, Idrissi 8*, Perez 7, Negredo 6.. subs: Lozano N/A, Carcelen 5, Alex 5.
Real Madrid: Lunin 7, Vazquez 6, Militao 6, Vallejo 6, Nacho 7, Valverde 5, Casemiro 6, Kroos 6, Rodrygo 7, Mariano 7, Asensio 5.. subs: Carvajal 5, Hazard 6, Ceballos 5, Latasa N/A.
5′ – GOAL! CADIZ 0-1 REAL MADRID (MARIANO DIAZ): Real Madrid take the lead with their very first attack. Diaz scores but this is all about Rodrygo, who embarks on a fine solo run, breezing past two defenders with speed and strength before rolling it across the face of goal and Diaz taps home.
35′ – ANOTHER HUGE CHANCE FOR CADIZ! How are the hosts not ahead in this game?! Idrissi is released by Fernandez, he opts for placement rather than power but can’t find a way past Lunin! Will they rue these missed opportunities?
37′ – GOAL! CADIZ 1-1 REAL MADRID (SOBRINO): This has been coming! Sobrino pounces on a loose ball on the edge of the box and gets his shot away, it takes a deflection, crashes off the crossbar and into the back of the net! A huge goal at the bottom of the table!
61′ – THE PENALTY IS SAVED! It’s a poor penalty and Lunin guesses the right way to deny Negredo from the spot! Devastation for the hosts!