Real Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw by Getafe in the Spanish league on Thursday, putting it in danger of finishing outside of the top two in consecutive seasons for the first time in 45 years.
The draw dropped Zinedine Zidane’s team six points behind second-place Atletico Madrid, which defeated Valencia 3-2 on Wednesday to keep alive its slim hopes of catching Barcelona at the top.
Barcelona can clinch its second consecutive title _ and eighth in 11 seasons _ with a home win at relegation-threatened Levante on Saturday.
Real Madrid has four games left to try to surpass Atletico and avoid its second straight third-place finish in the league. It hasn’t finished outside the top two in consecutive seasons since 1973-74.
Real Madrid is yet to win an away match since Zidane returned as coach, with a loss against Valencia and draws against Leganes and Getafe. It has won all four matches at home under the former France great.
Zidane started with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marcelo on the bench at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, Keylor Navas, Federico Valverde and Brahim Diaz were among the starters.
Both teams created some significant scoring chances throughout the match but were unable to capitalize.
"We deserved more, we had chances to score," Zidane said. "I’m upset with the result."
The draw allowed Getafe, the biggest surprise of the season, to reclaim fourth place, the final qualification spot for the Champions League. The team from southern Madrid is unbeaten in five straight matches.
"We gained a point and we are still in the fight for fourth place," Getafe defender Damian Suarez said. "We have to keep doing what we have been doing so far."