Excitement in an open game against Real Madrid (0-0)
Excitement in an open game against Real Madrid (0-0)

Villarreal put the LaLiga leaders on the ropes in an exciting match without goals

A prestigious point for the Submarine. Villarreal CF drew against Real Madrid (0-0) in an exciting match with a number of chances, that excited the fans in the stadium. Unai Emery’s side dominated in the first half and knew how to compete well in the second half, when Carlo Ancelotti’s side pushed forward most.

Emery lined up with a starting XI that had three changes from the win against Real Betis (0-2). Arnaut Danjuma, Giovani Lo Celso and Samu Chukwueze started the match against Real Madrid. Danger up front for the Yellows.

Villarreal started the match impressively, taking control of the ball and creating chances at the Estadio de la Cerámica. The Yellows were focusing their play down the right, where Chukwueze was causing all sort of problems.

The first real dangerous chance fell to the Nigerian winger, who got away from Marcelo and David Alaba easily, turned in the box and played the ball back. The No.11 was unlucky to not find someone to finish his shot.

In the 18th minute, Villarreal once more had another chance. Danjuma nearly scored with a shot from the heart of the area that hit the post. Bad luck for the Submarine who were imposing their playing style, despite it being all square on the scoreboard.

A few minutes later with the Yellows coming close again, Dani Carvajal kicked the ball at Lo Celso’s face, when he was lying on the floor. An ugly gesture that both Villarreal players and fans criticised the Real Madrid defender for. With half an hour on the clock, the referee booked Marco Asensio for a heavy challenge on Vicente Iborra. It wasn’t much punishment for such a dangerous challenge.

Villarreal’s first half was impressive. Ten minutes before half-time, Alberto Moreno tested Thibaut Courtois’ reflexes with a dangerous shot from the edge of the box which forced the Belgian goalkeeper into making a great save. Emery’s team deserved to be ahead on the scoreboard.

After the half-time break, it was a more even tie, and Real Madrid started to be more involved in the play. In the 55th minute, Gareth Bale’s dangerous effort hit the bar after a quick counter-attack. Then, just after the hour mark, Gero Rulli made a great save at full stretch to deny Vinicius Jr from a one-on-one.

When Real Madrid were looking the most dangerous, Emery looked to the bench. The Villarreal head coach brought on Manu Trigueros and Boulaye Dia. A few minutes later, he also brought on Pervis Estupiñán and Yeremy Pino. With the changes, the Yellows looked more like the side from the first half and started to cause problems for Los Blancos once more.

In added-time, Real Madrid could have scored a late goal. Luka Jovic found space in between the lines and went one-on-one with Rulli, trying to beat the Argentine with a chip. His effort found the bar. The rebound found a Real Madrid player, but Serge Aurier cleared it off the goal line.


Villarreal: Rulli; Foyth, R. Albiol, Pau, A. Pedraza (Estupiñán, m. 74); Alberto M., Parejo, Iborra (M. Trigueros, m. 66), Lo Celso (Serge Aurier, m. 87); Chukwueze (Yeremy, m. 74), Danjuma (Dia, m. 66).

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, E. Militao, Alaba, Marcelo (Nacho, m. 82); Casemiro, Valverde (Modric, m. 78), Kroos, Asensio (Rodrygo, m. 78); Vini Jr. (Hazard, m. 82), Bale (Jovic, m. 74).

Referee: Sánchez Martínez. Booked: Foyth, R. Albiol (Villarreal); E. Militao, Asensio, Bale, Casemiro (Real Madrid)

Matchday information: Match between Villarreal and Real Madrid, corresponding to LaLiga Matchday 24 at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Attendance: 17,894.