La Liga Roundup: Real Madrid held to draw at Rayo Vallecano

Real Madrid could see its Spanish league lead reduced after being held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. (AP/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid could see its Spanish league lead reduced after being held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, while last-place Almeria made history for the wrong reason by becoming the first team to go 28 straight games without a league win.

Almeria drew 1-1 at Granada for its 25th consecutive winless game this season. It also hadn’t won its last three matches last season.

Madrid was frustrated in its first match since it emerged that Kylian Mbappé will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, opening the door for another attempt by the Spanish powerhouse to sign the France star.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was asked if all the talk about the possible signing of Mbappé had affected his team.

“When has this team lacked concentration?” Ancelotti said. “It’s tough to say anything bad about this team this season.”

Joselu put Madrid ahead only three minutes into the match against its southern Madrid rival, but the hosts equalized through a penalty kick converted by Raúl de Tomás in the 27th.

The draw moved Madrid six points clear of second-place Girona, which visits fifth-place Athletic Bilbao on Monday.

Third-place Barcelona, which won 2-1 at Celta Vigo on Saturday with a stoppage-time penalty kick converted by Robert Lewandowski, was eight points behind Madrid. Fourth-place Atletico Madrid, which routed Las Palmas 5-0 at home Saturday, was 11 points off the lead.

It was a disappointing result for Madrid against a Rayo team that had lost three consecutive league matches and hasn’t won in seven straight.

“We want to win every game, but to win the league you can’t lose the games you can’t win,” Ancelotti said. “Sometimes there are draws that hurt, but they can be a positive step toward winning the league.”

Real Madrid remains unbeaten in its last 19 league games, with 14 wins and five draws. It failed to scored only once, in a 0-0 draw against Rayo in November.

Madrid was still without Jude Bellingham, who sprained his ankle in the win against Girona last weekend. Brahim Díaz replaced him again, playing alongside Vinícius Júnior in attack.

Luka Modric, who hasn’t started often this season, was in midfield, while Aurélien Tchouaméni again improvised as a central defender alongside Nacho Hernández.

Toni Kroos came off the bench in the second half to make his 450th appearance with Madrid.

Rayo was debuting coach Íñigo Pérez, the 36-year-old former midfielder who is on his first stint as a head coach. He replaced Francisco Rodríguez following a run of poor results.

The club’s winless streak at home is now at 10 consecutive games. It sits in 14th place, eight points from the relegation zone.

Madrid right back Dani Carvajal, who entered the match in the 75th, was sent off deep into stoppage time with a second yellow card.


Almeria surpassed the streak of 27 games without a league win that Levante recorded in 2021 and 2022. The worst winless run in a single season had belonged to Sporting Gijon.

Almeria, a Saudi-owned club, went ahead through Marc Pubill in the ninth minute but the hosts equalized with Myrto Uzuni’s goal in the 75th.

Granada is second-to-last in the standings, ahead of Almeria and behind Cadiz, which hasn’t won in 21 straight league games this season.


Sixth-place Real Sociedad ended its five-game winless streak across all tournaments with a 2-1 victory at Mallorca thanks to a stoppage-time goal by Mikel Merino.

Japan international Takefusa Kubo also scored for Sociedad. Antonio Sánchez had put Mallorca ahead four minutes into the match.

Mallorca, in 16th place, had Antonio Raíllo sent off in first-half stoppage time with consecutive yellow cards — the second after applauding the referee. Mallorca also saw Siebe van der Heyden sent off in second-half stoppage time.

Also Sunday, seventh-place Real Betis was held by 12th-place Alaves to a 0-0 draw at home.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.