Real Madrid crash to 2-1 defeat

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Real Madrid's miserable spell continued on Saturday as they slumped to a two-one defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Real Madrid's stars have begun to wane a little recently - David Beckham inspired them to a narrow one-nil against Osasuna on Tuesday under new coach Mariano Garcia Remon. 'Los Galacticos' needed to win again at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to move back to the top of Spain's La Liga. But it was the home side that shone in the early exchanges at the San Mames - Ismael Urzaiz hammered home Asier Del Horno's cross for an eleventh minute lead for Bilbao. There was nothing sweet about Real Madrid's first half performance - their best chance went begging as an out-of-sorts Ronaldo failed to meet Luis Figo's low cross. Athletic strikes again It was becoming painful for the Brazilian striker - and any travelling Real fans. In the last minute of the half Athletic Bilbao struck again - del Horno the provider once more for Santiago Ezquerro to again expose the glaring holes in the Real defence. Two-nil at half-time and more agony for Real Madrid President Florentino Perez. There was a fleeting glimpse of what Real's under-fire superstars are capable of five minutes into the second half. Guti's sublime backheel gave Real captain Raul the chance to end his goal drought, and he did so in stunning fashion. Raul was recalled by Mariano Garcia Remon in his first game in charge against Osasuna on Tuesday - Raul repaid his new coach at the San Mames with his first La Liga goal since April 3rd. There was nothing Daniel Aranzubia in Bilbao's goal could have done about this. But that was the best that Real could offer and Bilbao should have scored again but for the stubbornness of Iker Casillas in the visitor's goal. 2-1 it finished - with more pressure heaped on Remon and Perez. Barcelona and Valencia now have the chance to extend their lead at the top of La Liga if they win on Sunday (26/09), and even cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid are above them as Real's falling stars slip to fourth. (AP)

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