It’s a marathon, not a sprint – Zidane positive after Madrid lose top spot to Barca

Zinedine Zidane insisted the LaLiga title race is wide open after Real Madrid were leapfrogged by bitter rivals Barcelona.

Barcelona crushed Sporting Gijon 6-1 and Madrid were unable to regain top spot despite salvaging a 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas on Wednesday.

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Titleholders Barca are a point clear atop the table, though Madrid have one game in hand, and head coach Zidane remains positive over the capital club's chances of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2012.

"We are going to fight. It will be difficult right until the end, as I've said before and I stand by that," the Frenchman said. "We are not top of the league any more but this league is always wide open.

"We will not give up the fight, this is a marathon, not a sprint and we will get through this. We have to be positive."

Madrid were fortunate to earn a share of the spoils at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Isco opened the scoring for the hosts in the eighth minute but it went downhill from there as Tana equalised two minutes later.

Gareth Bale was then sent off two minutes into the second half following a pair of yellow cards and Las Palmas capitalised to take a 3-1 lead just shy of the hour-mark.

However, four-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue by scoring two late goals in three minutes.

"We'll get through this all together. We're going through a bad patch right now, particularly in terms of our first-half performance," Zidane added, having watched Madrid come from behind to beat Villarreal 3-2 last week.

"We'll have to analyse it and think about what we can do to change things around. We put in massive effort to come back from 3-1 down to make it 3-3. We have good spirit and this side is capable of doing good things.

"We perhaps don't have the same energy that we showed before to turn games around. We've let some crucial points slip, but we mustn't go crazy about it. We'll put this right by all working together.

"The important thing is that we didn't do what we had to do in the first half… We wanted to make sure they didn't have the ball and we failed to do that in the first period."

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