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Bellingham sorely missed as Real's title bid stutters

Carlo Ancelotti's side missed their main man as they were forced to settle for a point.

For the first time, Real Madrid missed Jude Bellingham. Los Blancos have coped without him before - winning each of the games he has sat out. But this time, the Englishman's attacking impetus was vital. And Carlo Ancelotti's side looked short on ideas without it, struggling their way to a 1-1 draw with a brave Rayo Vallecano side.

Los Blancos took the lead early, Federico Valverde providing an inch-perfect cross to Joselu - who finished a well-constructed counter. Rayo were handed a lifeline by an Eduardo Camavinga handball inside the box. Raul de Tomas smashed the ensuing penalty into the net. Madrid almost scored a second on the brink of half-time, when Valverde cracked a volley off the post.

But Los Blancos offered little else, and Rayo looked more likely to score after the break. Aurelien Tchouameni prevented a certain Rayo goal early in the second half, chasing down Alvaro Garcia and preventing his effort with a clever lunge. Late Madrid changes added some attacking thrust. Toni Kroos turned in a classy cameo, and forced a neat save from a free-kick.

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