MADRID (AFP) - Real
Madrid's build-up for their Champions League
quarter-final clash against Monaco suffered another
setback when they crashed to a 4-2 defeat at Athletic
It was the Spanish
league leaders' second successive defeat after their 3-2
loss to Real Zaragoza in the final of the Spanish Cup in
midweek and it also came on the back of two draws in the
Despite the defeat, Real
stay top of the table but Valencia have the chance to
cut the lead to just one point if they win against Real
Mallorca on Sunday.
"It was very frustrating,"
said Real star David Beckham who was substituted in the
dying minutes of the match.
"Two consecutive defeats
is surprising. The only explanation I can think of is a
lack of concentration."
Bilbao dominated the
first half and Francisco Javier Yeste deservedly gave
them the lead in the 40th minute after a mistake by Ivan
Helguera at the heart of the Real defence.
Ismael Urzaiz then added
the second goal just three minutes later.
Playing without the
injured Ronaldo, Real were looking to Raul for
inspiration up front and he brought his side back into
contention by pulling one back a minute after the
interval before bringing the sides level in the 61st
But the fatigue of
Wednesday's extra-time Cup defeat eventually told as
Bilbao went straight back on the attack with Asier Del
Horno scoring twice in two minutes in the 74th and 76th
to clinch the three points.
The win boosted Bilbao's
hopes of making the UEFA Cup next season while Madrid,
after their fourth league defeat of the season, must
regroup in time for Wednesday's Champions League
quarter-final first leg clash at the Bernabeu against
Deportivo La Coruna
moved into third place with a 1-0 win against bottom
club Murcia while Atletico Madrid saw off Real Betis
Barcelona can reclaim
third place on Sunday of they beat Real Sociedad at the