Andriy Lunin produced a string of fine saves as Real Madrid held on to a 1-1 draw at Cadiz, who dropped into the relegation zone as a result.

With Real Mallorca securing a dramatic win over Rayo Vallecano, only a victory at the Nuevo Mirandilla would have kept Cadiz out of the relegation zone, but Lunin – standing in for Thibaut Courtois – frustrated them.

Mariano Diaz's early Rodrygo-inspired opener was a sign of things to come in a thrilling first half, which ultimately ended level thanks to Ruben Sobrino's emphatic – and deserved – equaliser eight minutes before the interval.

Cadiz were comfortably the more threatening side in the second period but failed to capitalise on their chances, including a penalty that Lunin conceded and then saved.

Their future will be determined on the final day of the season.

Starting in place of Vinicius Junior for the champions, Rodrygo embarked on a mazy run that his compatriot would have been proud of before prodding the ball to Mariano for a fifth-minute tap-in.

That lead was almost wiped out soon after, but Nacho Fernandez got back to make a vital interception before Lucas Perez could pounce on Negredo's pass.

Lunin's fine save then denied Oussama Idrissi an equaliser, but the goalkeeper was helpless a few moments later as Sobrino smashed in off the crossbar from 16 yards following a weak Eder Militao clearance.

It remained a similarly open contest after the break and Cadiz wasted a glorious chance to take the lead, with Lunin saving Negredo's penalty after he had clumsily fouled the Madrid youth product.

Lunin acrobatically saved a goal-bound Negredo header soon after, with the Ukrainian's heroics enough to earn Madrid a point.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has appeared to blame groups of Barcelona fans for an estimated 30,000 Eintracht Frankfurt fans gaining entry to the clubs' Europa League tie last week.

The second leg of their quarter-final clash saw Frankfurt record a famous 3-2 win after storming into a three-goal lead, as Barcelona were eliminated before swathes of German fans at Camp Nou.

An estimated 30,000 travelling fans gained entry to the stadium despite the Bundesliga club only officially receiving 5,000 tickets for the fixture, leading Laporta to claim he was "ashamed" of the club's handling of the situation last week.

The incident led to a number of Blaugrana fans boycotting their 1-0 loss to Cadiz on Monday, as the Catalan giants suffered back-to-back home defeats for the first time since April 2003, with some protesting against Laporta prior to kick-off.

The Blaugrana chief, however, has blamed club members for the overwhelming Frankfurt presence, accusing them of selling their tickets to German fans.  

"The club is not to blame for what happened against Eintracht, but it is responsible," Lapota said on Tuesday, speaking at a news conference called to explain the incident. 

"A group of members misused their season tickets, which they ceded to German fans.

"It is sad because we love this club, and it is hard to imagine season ticket holders giving their tickets to rival fans. But this happened, and it will be subject to analysis.

"There are around 7,000 members that purchased tickets with discount codes and [those tickets] ended up in German hands. We don't want it to become a witch hunt, but there is a lot of disappointment and we will look into possibly taking action.

"We didn't sell tickets to German fans beyond the 5,000 away tickets. Sales from Germany weren't allowed, and there were many people trying to buy tickets from there. The system of control worked up to a point, but some organised groups were able to breach the mechanisms in place.

"We inherited the system from the previous board. We thought it could work, but we have seen that for special games it doesn't.

"Tickets will now be non-transferrable for non-domestic matches and high-risk games. We are working on other measures so that it does not happen again."

Laporta did, however, admit that the club did not handle the situation perfectly, and was thankful to have avoided more serious consequences.

"I am sure we could have done better," he added. "It concerned us to see so many German fans arriving at the ground, but if we impeded them from entering, we would be talking about more serious incidents."

Under 58,000 Barcelona fans turned out to see Xavi's side fall to a demoralising defeat to Cadiz on Monday, one of their lowest attendances since the legendary midfielder returned as head coach.

Barcelona lost at home for the second time in five days as Lucas Perez struck to seal a surprise 1-0 victory for LaLiga strugglers Cadiz.

Perez missed the best chance of a dull first half when blazing wide from 12 yards out, but the former Arsenal forward atoned to prod home the game's only goal after 47 minutes.

Jeremias Ledesma pulled off a string of fine saves to stem Barca's comeback attempts, as Xavi saw his side's 15-match unbeaten run in the league come to a shuddering halt.

Having crashed out of the Europa League to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, Barca's slim LaLiga title hopes are surely now over, and they sit only three points above fifth-placed Real Betis.

Despite a boycott from some fans creating a flat atmosphere at Camp Nou, Barca made a bright start – Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres forcing Ledesma into a double save.

Cadiz soon settled, and missed the first glaring opportunity of the match after 27 minutes, Perez inexplicably side-footing wide with the goal gaping.

Dembele shot tamely at Ledesma at the other end and Perez made Barca pay after the restart, making no mistake as he nudged in from close range after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had made a fine save.

Ledesma again thwarted Dembele 20 minutes later, though Barca were fortunate that Alex Fernandez and Ruben Sobrino missed great chances.

Ledesma denied Luuk de Jong and turned away Eric Garcia's strike before making his best save of the match, reacting brilliantly to parry Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's volley as Barca fell to a demoralising defeat.

Rodrigo de Paul boosted Atletico Madrid's Champions League hopes, netting a second half winner as the below-par hosts beat Cadiz 2-1.

Diego Simeone's men established an early lead through Joao Felix, but Alvaro Negredo headed home a fine leveller at the end of a scrappy first half.

Despite the relegation-threatened visitors enjoying the better of the play for long periods, De Paul fired home a second-half winner to send Simeone's men third in LaLiga, with Javi Serrano's late red card not significantly impacting Atleti.

Cadiz gifted their hosts the opening goal just three minutes in when goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma passed straight to Joao Felix, leaving the Portuguese to finish neatly from a tight angle.

Alfonso Espino and Negredo both volleyed narrowly wide as Cadiz looked to respond in a feisty first period, which threatened to boil over when Atletico defender Reinildo threw himself into a two-footed challenge and was shown a straight red card just before half-time.

Referee Pablo Fuertes then contentiously overturned the decision after a rapid VAR review, much to the visitors' fury.

But Cadiz ended the first half on a high, levelling through Negredo's well-placed header after a sublime left-wing cross from captain Espino.

Against the run of play, the hosts re-established their lead 22 minutes from time – De Paul firing home the rebound after Ledesma parried substitute Angel Correa's fierce strike.

Jose Gimenez made a remarkable goal-line clearance from Luis Hernandez soon after and Atletico were then put in a difficult spot when Serrano was dismissed for a forceful challenge just five minutes after coming on, but the hosts clung on for three vital points in their bid for Champions League football.

Real Madrid will face Barcelona's conquerors Athletic Bilbao in the pick of the Copa del Rey quarter-final ties.

The one-legged fixture at San Mames is a repeat of last week's Supercopa de Espana final, which Madrid won 2-0 to secure the first silverware of Carlo Ancelotti's second spell.

Madrid will now look to take advantage of record 31-time winners Barca's last-16 exit to Athletic, with Iker Muniain's extra-time penalty eliminating the holders in a 3-2 defeat. 

Friday's draw, which was conducted by Spain legend David Villa, also pitted LaLiga high-flyers Real Sociedad and Real Betis.

Betis are third in the Spanish top flight after enjoying a sensational campaign thus far, while Sociedad are fifth and themselves in contention for a Champions League spot.

Valencia will take on Cadiz, meanwhile, and Rayo Vallecano are up against Real Mallorca in the other all-LaLiga quarter-final fixture.

All four ties will take place in two weeks' time, with the first leg of the semi-finals scheduled for the following week. 

Copa del Rey quarter-final draw in full:

Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid
Real Sociedad v Real Betis
Valencia v Cadiz
Rayo Vallecano v Real Mallorca

Carlo Ancelotti insisted nobody should be blamed after Real Madrid's disappointing 0-0 draw at home to struggling Cadiz, applauding the performance even if the outcome was not as expected.

Madrid had been hoping to extend their winning run to eight league matches but failed to convert their superiority into goals at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Los Blancos' 36 shots amounted to 10 more than any other team have had in a single LaLiga match this season and the most since Madrid themselves had 37 attempts against Levante in April 2013.

Those shots equated to 2.8 expected goals (xG), meaning it was only the fourth time in the past decade that Madrid have failed to score in a LaLiga game despite registering at least 2.8 xG.

Cadiz defended valiantly, their 14 blocks being the most any team has recorded in a game since Opta began collecting this data (2005-06), somehow managing to leave the Santiago Bernabeu with at least a point for the second season in a row.

 

Yet, as frustrating as it would have been for his team to fail to beat 19th-placed Cadiz, Ancelotti looked on the bright side.

Speaking to Movistar, Ancelotti said: "I think we've tried in every way, but it has not turned out well.

"It didn't work, but we tried, and therefore I don't have to blame [anyone]. There are many positive things, the only thing that wasn't positive was not having won the three points, but this is football.

"There are times you don't deserve it and you win, and others you deserve it and you don't win. They have played us with a set-up that always challenges us, but that's the way it is.

"In the first half what we didn't do well was breaking their back line, the intensity wasn't very high. The second half was different, we created a lot of opportunities.

"The ball didn't go in, but, personally, I'm happy. We tried, I don't know what more we could do. We could have had more quality in the final metres, but I am not going to ask my team for more."

 

Numerous Madrid players caught the eye but one of the most notable – even if he was not necessarily the standout star – was Eden Hazard.

The Belgian has been a massive disappointment since joining Madrid from Chelsea, with injuries playing a major role in disrupting him, but he looked bright at times on what was his first LaLiga start since September.

Hazard had three shots, his match-high 0.77 xG showing he was a threat, while he also played five key passes, the second most he has tallied in a league game for Madrid.

Ancelotti added: "It was difficult for him to get into the game, but in the second half he did very well with better combinations with the forwards.

"It is clear that Hazard can be one more weapon for us in the second half of the season."

 

Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Cadiz on Sunday in a result that will provide a boost to those hoping to challenge Los Blancos for the LaLiga title.

Carlo Ancelotti's men were hoping to extend their winning run in the top flight to eight matches but failed to make the most of their dominance at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Their first-half performance was especially disappointing as Madrid arguably only created one clear-cut opportunity.

They were more dangerous after the interval but still could not break the deadlock and nearly saw Madrid youth product Alvaro Negredo steal a late winner for the 19th-placed visitors.

Madrid showed promise early on as Karim Benzema released Vinicius Junior into the left side of the area only for his eventual shot to be deflected behind by Juan Cala.

Otherwise, Los Blancos did not pose much of a threat to Jeremias Ledesma's goal until the second half, when he was forced into a fine save by Eden Hazard's delicate header.

Vinicius was the next to test Ledesma just before the hour, cutting inside Carlos Akapo and drilling straight at the goalkeeper from 16 yards.

Thibaut Courtois was helpless at the other end 15 minutes from time as Cadiz countered and saw Negredo shoot towards the bottom-right corner, only for the effort to be dragged agonisingly wide.

Madrid subsequently piled the pressure on, with Benzema going close twice and Toni Kroos having a strike blocked, but Cadiz left the capital with at least a point for the second successive season.

Atletico Madrid kept the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga with a routine 4-1 rout of struggling Cadiz.

Diego Simeone's team lost to Milan in midweek but made it seven games unbeaten in LaLiga thanks to second-half goals from Thomas Lemar, Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha.

Atleti's goals were rare moments of quality in a match previously lacking much invention, with Lemar heading home from close range in the 56th minute before Griezmann drilled in from Marcos Llorente's cross.

A slick team move saw Lemar's replacement Correa net a third, with Cunha doubling his tally of league goals for the season after Jan Oblak's own goal gave Cadiz a consolation.

Heading into Sunday's encounter aiming to end a 12-match winless streak against Atleti in LaLiga, Cadiz very nearly had the lead inside the opening minute, but Llorente denied Ruben Sobrino a tap-in.

Atleti lost Jose Gimenez to injury and Alfonso Espino dragged wide prior to the break, with Cadiz starting the second half brightly.

But it was Atleti who struck first – Lemar getting above his marker to nod in from Yannick Carrasco's inviting left-wing cross, his first headed goal in Europe's top-five leagues.

Carrasco and Lemar combined again six minutes later, only for the latter's heavy touch giving Ledesma chance to smother the shot.

Where Lemar's first touch let him down, Griezmann showed no such lack of quality, sweeping in from Llorente's cut-back after neat interplay down the right flank.

Atleti's first league away win in four attempts was sealed in the 76th minute, Correa combining with fellow substitute Cunha to fire in.

Anthony Lozano's deflected cross bizarrely looped in over the bemused Oblak, though Cunha raced through to restore the three-goal cushion straight from kick-off.

The pressure on Ronald Koeman intensified after his 10-man Barcelona side were held to a dire 0-0 draw by Cadiz at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on Thursday.

Speculation about the Dutchman's future has been rife following a slow start to the LaLiga campaign that had seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Things did not get much better for the Catalan giants in Andalusia as Cadiz comfortably kept them at bay, with their misery compounded midway through the second half when Frenkie de Jong saw red for two bookable offences.

Koeman was also dismissed in the closing seconds for his protests during a frantic finish.

A point did at least move Barcelona up to seventh – seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have played a game more – while Cadiz climbed to 14th.

While Barca did most of the pressing in the early stages, they did not have a shot on target until the 30th minute, Memphis Depay's weak effort comfortably saved by Jeremias Ledesma.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen pawed away Alvaro Negredo's audacious 25-yard effort immediately after half-time, while Depay miskicked with the goal at his mercy at the other end.

Ledesma pushed away Depay's drive from outside the penalty area, before Barca's hopes of getting a positive result were dealt a blow in the 65th minute when De Jong received a second yellow card for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball. 

Salvi Sanchez squandered a glorious opportunity inside the final 10 minutes, firing against Ter Stegen after being played in by Espino, with the ball bouncing behind off Ruben Sobrino.

Depay then had an even better chance to steal all three points for the visitors deep into stoppage time, as the Netherlands international clipped narrowly wide after a marauding Gerard Pique carried Barca forward.

What does it mean? Koeman's time could be up

Speaking ahead of the match, Barca president Joan Laporta insisted Koeman's job did not depend on the outcome of the result, but he did warn that "if decisions have to be taken, we will take them".

That decision may well be nearing after another woeful display from a Barca side desperately short of ideas, pace and attacking threat. Their task was made harder by the dismissal of De Jong, though they scarcely looked like scoring when they had their full complement of players. 

Busquets quality still on show

While many at Barca are seemingly losing their heads, Sergio Busquets continues to be a reliably serene presence at the base of the midfield. The Spain international made more successful passes (77) than any player on the pitch, while he gained possession eight times – a total not bettered by any Barca player.

Demir fails to shine

Yusuf Demir struggled on just his second start for Barca. It was little surprise to see the 18-year-old brought off at half-time after an opening 45 minutes that did not herald a single shot or key pass.

What's next?

Both sides are in action again on Sunday, with Barca hosting Levante at what could be a hostile Camp Nou and Cadiz travelling to Rayo Vallecano.

The pressure on Ronald Koeman intensified after his 10-man Barcelona side were held to a dire 0-0 draw by Cadiz at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on Thursday.

Speculation about the Dutchman's future has been rife following a slow start to the LaLiga campaign that had seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Things did not get much better for the Catalan giants in Andalusia as Cadiz comfortably kept them at bay, with their misery compounded midway through the second half when Frenkie de Jong saw red for two bookable offences.

A point did at least move Barcelona up to seventh – seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have played a game more – while Cadiz climbed to 14th.

While Barca did most of the pressing in the early stages, they did not have a shot on target until the 30th minute, Memphis Depay's weak effort comfortably saved by Jeremias Ledesma.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen pawed away Alvaro Negredo's audacious 25-yard effort immediately after half-time, while Depay miskicked with the goal at his mercy at the other end.

Ledesma pushed away Depay's drive from outside the penalty area, before Barca's hopes of getting a positive result were dealt a blow in the 65th minute when De Jong received a second yellow card for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball. 

Salvi Sanchez squandered a glorious opportunity inside the final 10 minutes, firing against Ter Stegen after being played in by Espino, with the ball bouncing behind off Ruben Sobrino.

Depay then had an even better chance to steal all three points for the visitors deep into stoppage time, as the Netherlands international clipped narrowly wide after a marauding Gerard Pique carried Barca forward.

LaLiga is arguably harder to call than ever before heading into 2021-22 – Barcelona no longer have Lionel Messi to guide the way and Real Madrid have seen significant upheaval, so surely the smart money is on defending champions Atletico Madrid?

Diego Simeone's men won the title in 2020-21 after watching Barca and Madrid trade success for seven years and look in good shape given they've not lost any major players. But can you really write off the 'big two'?

Well, you shouldn't, according to Stats Perform predictions.

The Stats Perform League Prediction Model, created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, has analysed the division ahead of the new season to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The season is then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

Without further ado, let's look at what could occur over the 2021-22 LaLiga season.

 

ANCELOTTI DELIVERS THE GOODS

Carlo Ancelotti's back at the Santiago Bernabeu, and so – it seems – will the Spanish title. The Stats Perform model calculates Madrid have a 42.3 per cent chance of taking the crown back from their local rivals.

In fact, if the model proves accurate, Atletico may not even finish in the top two, as their 18.7 per cent chance is a fair bit smaller than Barca's 30.4 per cent likelihood of winning LaLiga.

However, it's worth pointing out that, because the model is based on historical data points and results, the Barcelona that appears here is one that has had Messi in the team for past 17 years.

It's entirely reasonable to expect Barca to see a significant drop-off given they'll no longer have the greatest player of all time on their books – as such, a 30.4 per cent chance of winning the title might actually be quite generous.

THE BIG FOUR?

The 2020-21 season was the tightest LaLiga title fight in recent memory. Although Atletico were 11 points clear at one point, with five matches left there were just three points separating first from fourth.

In that respect, it was the closest title race LaLiga had ever seen in a 20-team campaign (1987-1995, 1997-present) and the least predictable since 2006-07, when Madrid, Barca and Sevilla could all win the league on the final day of the season.

Sevilla's challenge ultimately faded before that stage in 2020-21 but they've managed to keep Julen Lopetegui, their coach, and their squad is largely unaltered for the time being.

The prediction model makes them fourth favourites for the title (6.8 per cent) and far better placed to take the final Champions League spot (69.4 per cent) for the third year in a row than their likeliest challengers Villarreal (36.2 per cent).

There was a 15-point gap between fourth and fifth last season – this is the closest to a 'big four' Spain has had in years.

 

FOUR TIPPED FOR RELEGATION TUSSLE

Rayo Vallecano, Real Mallorca and Espanyol were the three to come up from the Segunda last season. While most people would ordinarily point to the promoted sides as the most likely to be relegated, the prediction model disagrees.

It gives Mallorca a 30.7 per cent likelihood of going straight back down, and Espanyol are at 17.6 per cent – neither of those are among the bottom three, though Rayo (45.9 per cent) are seen as the second favourites to head back to the second tier.

But it's Elche (57.9 per cent) who are the clear front-runners in this regard, and then it looks agonisingly close for the third and final relegation spot.

According to the predictor, it's likely to be neck-and-neck between Deportivo Alaves (41.1 per cent) and Cadiz (41.9 per cent).

LaLiga has found "no evidence" that Cadiz's Juan Cala racially abused Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby.

Play was halted during the first half of Sunday's clash between the sides following an altercation involving Cala and Diakhaby, after which the Valencia player and his team-mates left the pitch.

Diakhaby did not return for the remainder of the game, which resumed after a 20-minute delay, while Cala was substituted at half-time.

In a video posted on Twitter, Diakhaby said Cala called him "negro de mierda" which translates as "black s***".

Cala maintained his innocence at a subsequent news conference, insisting he had simply told Diakhaby to "leave me in peace".

The Spanish top-flight's governing body released a statement on Friday after concluding its investigation into the incident, which included the use of lip reading experts.

"After the analysis of the material, it is concluded that no evidence has been found... that the player Juan Torres Ruiz (Juan Cala) insulted Mouctar Diakhaby in the terms denounced," it read.

"Specifically, the audiovisual and digital files available have been examined, the audio of the meeting, the images broadcast and what was disseminated on the different social networks have been analysed.

"In order to complement the report, a specialised company has been hired, which has carried out a lip reading analysis of the conversations and a study of the behaviour of the players Juan Torres Ruiz and Mouctar Diakhaby.

"LaLiga has shared these reports with the clubs involved and the relevant authorities, so that they form part of those ongoing investigations.

"LaLiga reiterates its condemnation against racism in all its forms and maintains its commitment to permanently fight against any type of demonstration in this regard, which has materialised in the presentation of numerous complaints of hate crimes, including as a private accusation, in previous proceedings."

The Spanish Football Federation is also looking into the matter.

Valencia president Anil Murthy has called on LaLiga to do more in the fight against racism after Mouctar Diakhaby was subjected to what he described as an "extremely serious racial insult" against Cadiz.

The top-flight meeting on Sunday – which finished 2-1 to Cadiz – was stopped for 20 minutes after Valencia's players left the field following an altercation between Diakhaby and Cadiz defender Juan Cala.

Valencia's players subsequently walked off the pitch, before returning to the field without Diakhaby, who asked to be taken off.

After the match had restarted, Valencia tweeted their version of events, stating Diakhaby had suffered a "racist insult".

Cadiz issued a statement following the game, insisting any form of racism was not tolerated.

They also added they had no doubts over the honesty of their squad, with Cala having been picked up by television cameras pleading his innocence during the game.

Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera said: "I saw the same as you did. They left the field alongside the referee because they said that Cala had insulted one of their players.

"Cala says that at no point did he insult the opposition player."

Cadiz confirmed on Monday that Cala would address the media on the subject after training on Tuesday. 

Speaking alongside Diakhaby in a video posted on Valencia's official website, Murthy said: "Yesterday, in our game against Cadiz, we witnessed a flagrant incident of racism. 

"There is no other way to describe it. Our player, Mouctar Diakhaby, was the recipient of an extremely serious racial insult by Juan Cala.

"Although Cala may deny it, we believe Mouctar completely. This type of behaviour should not be tolerated in football and in society in general, and we at Valencia condemn racism in any form. We fully support our player.

"There should be no doubt that Valencia will defend Mouctar Diakhaby to the fullest, and fight to ensure that such lamentable events are not repeated."

Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya said the team had been told they would be penalised if they did not return to finish the game – a claim backed up by head coach Javi Gracia.

Murthy described Sunday's incident as a "step back in the fight against racism" and has demanded LaLiga change the rules to better protect those who suffer racist abuse.

"We spoke with LaLiga this morning to encourage them to also see their investigation through to the end," he added. "This incident cannot be left behind, and cannot be repeated with any other player for any other team.

"We are saddened that, following the incident, there was no reaction to stop the game, and that it was our players who were the ones to leave the field of play. There cannot be a lack of action in light of these types of situations.

"From now on, we would like to see some kind of reaction to change these protocols, in order to protect those who are vulnerable. If we don't change this, then it will give a bad example to everybody.

"We are proud of the reaction from our team, and we still do not understand why Diakhaby, the recipient of this racial insult, received a yellow card.

"We also do not understand why the players had to return to the pitch due to the regulations not protecting the victims and the team in such cases.

"This must change. Changes have been made in other leagues, and now the same must be done in Spain. 

"We cannot turn a blind eye to something as serious as racism. It is time for a change, and Valencia will go all the way in our support of our player and the fight against racism. A step back in the fight against racism was taken yesterday."

Juan Cala will speak to the media on Tuesday following allegations of racism by Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby, his club Cadiz have confirmed.

Sunday's LaLiga meeting between the sides – which finished 2-1 to Cadiz – was stopped for 20 minutes after Valencia's players left the field following an altercation between Diakhaby and Cala.

Gabriel Paulista and Kevin Gameiro attempted to defuse the situation before Diakhaby explained his version of events to referee David Medie Jimenez.

Valencia's players subsequently walked off the pitch, before returning to the field without Diakhaby, who asked to be taken off.

After the match had restarted, Valencia tweeted their version of events, stating Diakhaby had suffered a "racist insult".

Following the game, Cadiz issued a statement on their club website, insisting any form of racism was not tolerated.

However, they also added they had no doubts over the honesty of their squad, with Cala having been picked up by television cameras pleading his innocence during the game.

Posting on their official Twitter account on Monday, Cadiz confirmed Cala will address the media following training on Tuesday.

Valencia's players walked off the pitch during their LaLiga meeting with Cadiz after alleged racist abuse was directed towards defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

Sunday's match was stopped after 29 minutes when Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya led his team from the field.

The incident that sparked Valencia's fury came when Juan Cala – who had opened the scoring – went in for a challenge with Diakhaby.

While initially heading back to his position, Diakhaby suddenly turned and angrily confronted Cala.

Gabriel Paulista and Los Che goalscorer Kevin Gameiro attempted to defuse the situation before Diakhaby explained his version of events to referee David Medie Jimenez. His team-mates then departed in solidarity and play was suspended for 20 minutes before they returned.

Valencia returned without Diakhaby, who was replaced by Hugo Guillamon, but Cala stayed on until he too was substituted at half-time.

The game ended 2-1 to Cadiz, Marcos Mauro scoring an 88th-minute winner.

In a statement from Valencia said: "The team met up and decided to return to the pitch to fight for the badge, but firm in their condemnation of all forms of racism."

Valencia also confirmed that Diakhaby wanted the match to continue, though did not want to carry on playing himself.

"We offer our complete backing to Diakhaby," a tweet read. "The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his team-mates return to the pitch. We SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR."

Cadiz did not initially offer a comment though it has been reported that television cameras picked up Cala pleading his innocence. 

According to Gaya, Valencia were told they would forfeit the match if they did not return to the field.

"[Diakhaby] told us he insulted him in a racist way. We went back out to play because they told us they could penalise us with three points and something more," Gaya said, as reported by AFP.

"He asked us to go back. He's gutted, it was a very ugly insult."

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