MADRID (AP) – With its cushion at the top gone, Real Madrid needs wins.
Another setback in the final rounds of the Spanish league could leave the title in the hands of Barcelona, which is carrying all the momentum after the last-minute win against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium over the weekend.
''Our fate is still in our hands,'' Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Tuesday. ''It's still all up to us. We will keep doing our best to try to win matches. We are not going to change anything.''
Barcelona leads on the head-to-head tiebreaker, but Madrid has a game in hand. Madrid will next face Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday. Barcelona has a much easier game, against last-place Osasuna at the Camp Nou.
Madrid led 26 of the 33 rounds so far, and was as many as six points ahead of Barcelona. It had been holding on to a three-point advantage for several weeks until finally giving it away with the heart-breaking home loss on Sunday.
''We still only depend on ourselves and we are going to give everything we have to win La Liga,'' Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said. ''The defeat to Barcelona hurt us because of the situation that we had before the game, but there is no time to lament. We have to turn the page and start focusing on the next match.''
It will help Madrid's confidence that it has beaten Deportivo the last seven times the teams met, including the last three league games in La Coruna. Deportivo defeated Barcelona at home last month, but it has won only once in six games since then. It is 16th in the 20-team standings, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Ramos won't be able to play on Wednesday because of the red card he received late in the game against Barcelona. Madrid also won't be able to count on Gareth Bale, who left Sunday's game before halftime because of a left calf injury. Raphael Varane is expected to replace Ramos, and either Marco Asensio or Francisco ''Isco'' Alarcon will likely play in Bale's place.
Top 10 club rivalries in world soccer
10. Soweto Derby: Orlando Pirates vs. Kaizer Chiefs
The Soweto Derby is a way of life in Johannesburg, with crowds that exceed typical league crowds by several degrees of magnitude.
9. Cascadia Cup: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
Don't let anyone tell you Sounders-Timbers isn't one of the great global club rivalries. These two cities live and breathe soccer, have had their clubs' battle span multiple leagues, and the antipathy is real.
8. Fla-Flu: Flamengo vs. Fluminense
The Fla-Flu game in Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's great historical rivalry. No fewer than 194,000 fans attended this game at the Maracanã in 1963.
7. North London Derby: Arsenal vs. Tottenham
The North London Derby has gotten even more intense as Spurs has improved over the years, though Arsenal (for now) still carries its 21-year streak of finishing ahead of Tottenham in the table.
6. North-West Derby: Manchester United vs. Liverpool
The two most successful clubs in England historically (20 championships for Manchester United; 18 for Liverpool) also have one of the most bitter rivalries.
5. Clasico Nacional: Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Club America
Mexico's two most popular teams have a rivalry that pits Guadalajara against Mexico City and a team of players with only Mexican heritage (Chivas) against a team known for buying non-Mexican stars (América).
4. Derby della Capitale: Roma vs. Lazio
The Derby della Capitale is the most intense city rivalry in Italy, a fight for bragging rights in the Eternal City.
3. Superclasico: Boca Juniors vs. River Plate
The two Argentine giants of Buenos Aires may have the world's most passionate fanbases. I went to the SuperClásico in '95 and stood with the Boca hardcores. When Boca scored, a sea of humanity carried me three rows below.
2. Old Firm: Celtic vs. Rangers
The divide between Catholics (Celtic) and Protestants (Rangers) through sports in Glasgow. I once wore all-black to this game in '99 and got yelled at for not picking a side.
1. El Clasico: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
The two best teams in Spain also have a long history as sporting proxies of Castilian Spain and Catalonia. Given the enmity in El Clásico, it's a wonder that the Spanish national team hasn't been more dysfunctional.
Madrid is trying to win its first league trophy since 2012 and avoid its biggest title drought in the league since the 1980s.
''The pressure remains the same,'' Zidane said. ''Our only obligation is to give our best and to try to win every match.''
Madrid will have to split its attention between the title race and the semifinals of the Champions League, which will be played in the coming weeks. The second leg against city rival Atletico Madrid will be played just before the league's second-to-last round.
The team's game in hand is at Celta Vigo and is likely to be played just before the final round.
Barcelona, already eliminated from the European competition, can fully focus on the Spanish league. The Copa del Rey final against Alaves will only be played after the league has already finished.
''You never know how that is going to affect the teams,'' Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. ''We can't pay attention to our rival. We have to be prepared to play our best football and win the matches.''
He said the victory at the Bernabeu lifted the team's morale after a run of disappointing results.
''It's obvious that it was important psychologically,'' Luis Enrique said. ''It gave us a boost of confidence going into the end of the season, but we will need to be very consistent in this final stretch.''