MADRID: Real Madrid, despite the return of Eden Hazard, were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at struggling Elche in LaLiga and thus lost ground in the title race to leaders Atletico Madrid.
Atletico beat Getafe 1-0 at home to celebrate coach Diego Simeone’s 00th game in charge.
A Luis Suarez header gave Atletico all three points after he glanced home a Yannick Carrasco assist.
Atletico went into the match after being a dealt a double setback of Kieran Trippier being suspended for 10 weeks for a betting infraction and Diego Costa leaving the club after rescinding his contract.
The absences did not seem to affect them, however, and even though this was far from their most impressive performance of the season, they always looked in control.
Both sides had chances to take all three points, with Elche forward Lucas Boye striking the post, while Real defenders Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos were thwarted by fine saves from the home side’s keeper Edgar Badia.
Elche had a last-gasp chance to win the game when they earned a free kick in added time, but defender Gonzalo Verdu’s shot was tipped away by Real keeper Thibaut Courtois.
Record signing Eden Hazard returned after over a month out injured but could not help his side get the winner they craved.
The draw halted a six-match winning streak in all competitions for Real and left them second in the standings on 33 points, two behind city rivals Atletico who also have two games in hand. Elche are 15th on 16 points.