Real Valladolid 1 - 0 Real Madrid
The same Valladolid had been crushed 6-0 by Barcelona last weekend and before the game sections of the Spanish media were saying that this could be Schuster's last game if Real lost. That is just what happened as Uruguayan striker Nestor Cannobbio struck a 48th minute winner with an unstoppable left-footed drive. With two recent Champions League losses to Juventus and the midweek Spanish Cup embarrassment to minnows Real Union, Schuster had been under extreme pressure, and the Valladolid loss could be the final nail in his coffin. Real have now won just once in their last six matches in all competitions and the double league champions stay fourth, two points behind leaders Barcelona who have a game in hand. Schuster won the league title in his debut season but it is now up to the Real board to see if they want to extend his 16-month spell at the Santiago Bernabeu. "This was a match we did not think we would lose," Schuster said. "I am calm," he added. "We are working and doing what we have to do." Without the creative Dutch duo of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Arjen Robben both out injured Raul and Gonzalo Higuain started in attack with the latter hoping to build on his four goals against Malaga last weekend. Valladolid were whacked 6-0 by Barcelona last time out and must have feared a Real backlash but Jose Garcia Calvo almost put the hosts ahead with his 12th minute header cleared off the goal line by alert Brazilian defender Marcelo. Higuain then showed a great turn of pace to race clear only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper. At half-time it was scoreless with Schuster cutting a glum figure in the dug-out but the clean sheet was a bonus when you consider that Real had leaked six goals in their last two matches. But three minutes into the second half Valladolid took the lead with a poor pass from Guti gifting possession and Canobbio rifled in past the helpless Iker Casillas. Casillas last kept a clean sheet back on September 21 in a 2-0 win over Racing Santander underlining Real's defensive frailties. Higuain and Wesley Sneijder both went close but captain Raul squandered the best chance with three minutes left shooting at the legs of goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.
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Valencia also missed the chance to go top, slumping to a 3-2 defeat at home to Sporting Gijon. Sporting, who lost their first four league games, continued their resurgence with a vibrant performance to delight a sizeable contingent of travelling fans. After a cagey opening, Luis Moran gave the visitors the lead on 20 minutes when he broke through the Valencia offside trap and finished low past Renan. Seven minutes into the second half, Sporting doubled their lead when David Barral cut inside from the right, bamboozled Emiliano Moretti with a flurry of stepovers and beat Renan low at his near post. Barral turned villain on 69 minutes when he conceded a penalty with a handball. David Villa made no mistake against his former club, finding the bottom-right corner. Diego Castro made the game safe 10 minutes from time thanks to some more indifferent Valencia defending. He eased Raul Albiol out of the way and prodded home past Renan. Juan Mata set up a frantic finish when he finished smartly from Ruben Baraja's diagonal through-ball, but Sporting held on.