La Liga round-up
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Real Madrid's title hopes have faded after a shock 2-0 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao.Real Madrid's title hopes have faded after a shock 2-0 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
Madrid were lethargic for much of the game and their Basque opponents deserved their hard fought success.
Second half goals from Asier Del Horno and Andoni Iraola gave Bilbao victory.
Things could and should have been worse for Madrid, as after just 17 minutes Bilbao were denied a goal. Iraola - hugely impressive on the evening - fired a speculative 40 yard effort at goal from the right flank; the shot got the better of Iker Casillas, hit the crossbar and came down over the line - but the officials did not spot it.
Just before the hour and Bilbao grabbed a deserved lead when Del Horno rose to head home Pablo Orbaiz's cross - his fifth career goal against Real.
Real coach Wanderley Luxemburgo had seen enough and he threw on his three biggest galacticos as Zinedine Zidane, Raul and Ronaldo arrived on the pitch.
However, it did not have the desired effect as Bilbao increased their lead as Iraola picked up a pass from Santiago Ezquerro and with the Real back-line appealing for offside - the midfielder fired home to silence the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real had real hope that they could close to within one point of leaders Barca - but the night turned sour as Bilbao claimed only their second away win of the season and their Catalan rivals claimed victory at Camp Nou.
Los Cules have now re-established a seven-point lead thanks to their 2-0 win over Mallorca.
The Islanders made life difficult early on for Barca and should have taken the lead after 10 minutes when Carlos Puyol fouled Luis Garcia.
The forward picked himself up to take the kick, but Victor Valdes pushed his effort wide.
Barca then took control and Deco fired home from long distance just moments after Mallorca's missed penalty.
The Portuguese star then added a second when he got the better of Mallorca keeper Miguel Moya.
Third placed Sevilla missed the chance to close on Real Madrid, after they lost 1-0 at Real Sociedad.
Serbian striker Darko Kovacevic fired the winner with just five minutes left on the clock at The Anoeta.