Real Madrid failed to build on their Clasico triumph and dropped two points in La Liga’s title race with a 0-0 derby draw against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Los Blancos spurned several chances as they drove Rayo back throughout at the Santiago Bernabeu but could not find the last-gasp winner they so often manage to produce.
The draw leaves Madrid second, two points behind shock leaders Girona, who came from behind to beat Osasuna, and two ahead of Barcelona after the Catalans’ fortunate win over Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti lined up with the energetic Eduardo Camavinga replacing injured holding midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, as well as starting Luka Modric in place of Toni Kroos.
Real Madrid took the game to their neighbours from the off, with Rayo Vallecano’s Macedonian goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski kept extremely busy.
He made a superb save to thwart Fede Valverde who burst through on goal early on after Rayo gave the ball away at the back.
Madrid had an early scare when Jude Bellingham, the league’s top goalscorer with 10 strikes, went down hurt, holding his left shoulder.
After a couple of minutes, the England international recovered and was able to stay on.
Striker Joselu, on loan from Espanyol, headed wide from Luka Modric’s corner, while Fran Garcia flashed an effort narrowly over after good work by Bellingham to play him in.
Dimitrievski made a fantastic save to deny Joselu after Vinicius Junior cut the ball back to the Spain striker.
The Brazilian winger was increasingly involved as the game ticked towards its final stages and struck in the 66th minute, but the goal was ruled out for offside against Joselu.
Substitute Rodrygo Goes sent a cross-shot narrowly off-target as Rayo edged closer to the final whistle.
Vinicius was booked for dissent as his and Madrid’s frustration grew in the face of the visitors’ staunch defending.
Rayo threw on Radamel Falcao and Bebe in the final ten minutes, on the off chance they could nick a late winner, but it was Madrid who kept driving forward.
Bellingham, already the author of several decisive late interventions in matches for Madrid, could not repeat his heroics from last weekend when he scored a brace against Barcelona.
Rodrygo came closest for Madrid in stoppage time with a backheeled effort straight at Dimitrievski, which he collected gratefully.
Ancelotti said before the game Brazilian wingers Vinicius and Rodrygo would end up outscoring Bellingham and Joselu this season, but his prediction did not begin to come true soon enough.
The denouement to the match was bad-tempered, with Antonio Rudiger and Florian Lejeune booked after squaring off, and the Madrid defender is now suspended for their next La Liga game against Valencia.
Rayo are now unbeaten in eight league games, with their most recent defeat coming at the start of September — and are level with Madrid and Barca on six clean sheets.
“It was a really complete game from the team, we put in a huge effort — we know what a tough place this is to come,” Rayo striker Raul de Tomas told DAZN.