BILBAO (REUTERS) – Real Madrid ensured the La Liga title race will go down to the final weekend as they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at San Mames on Sunday (May 16) thanks to a second-half goal from defender Nacho Fernandez.
In a first half shorn of clear-cut chances, Real were adamant they should have had a penalty when Alvaro Odriozola’s cross hit Jon Morcillo’s arm, however referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away the protests.
Bilbao almost opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, however Alex Berenguer’s free kick bounced just wide of Thibaut Courtois’s far post.
Casemiro had a header bounce back off the crossbar shortly after the restart, however the Brazilian midfielder then teed up defender Nacho from close range to give Zinedine Zidane’s side a priceless three points.
Substitute Raul Garcia was sent off late on for the hosts as temperatures threatened to boil over.
The result sees second-placed Real move onto 81 points, two behind city rivals Atletico Madrid, who beat Osasuna 2-1 on Sunday thanks to two late goals.