Villarreal lost to the league leaders at the Estadio de la Cerámica in a match marked, inevitably, by controversial refereeing. The Yellows went 2-0 up thanks to goals by Trigueros and Bakambu, but they watched Real Madrid come back with through Bale, Ronaldo and Morata. The match referee, Gil Manzano, gave an inexistent penalty for a handball by Bruno which gave the locals the chance to equalize. In addition, in the definitve play to make it 2-3, Escribá’s men had protested a foul on Castillejo that was not given just moments before.
The Submarine were 'switched on' from the first minute. The Yellows gave their utmost in every play and this showed as they were the better team out there on the pitch. Thus, chances didn’t take long to come for the locals. Mario, Adrián López, Jonathan dos Santos twice and Samu Castillejo all almost opened the scoring at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
The worst news of the night was Sergio Asenjo’s injury. The goalkeeper had to leave the field of play due to pain in his left knee and the subsequent tests have confirmed that Asenjo has torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The Yellows number 1 sustained the injury by making a spectacular save from a Karim Benzema header.
The goals came in the second half. Trigueros had the honour of opening the scoring in what was a truly brilliant match. The centre midfielder from Talavera took advantage of a ball knocked down by Samu Castillejo, smashing the ball past Keylor Navas with a half volley into the far corner (1-0, m. 49). Fair.
And the home side made it 2-0 straight after. Bruno Soriano played a great through ball to set Bakambu on his way, the Yellows striker outpacing his opponent and finishing with a left-footed strike into the near bottom corner. The Estadio de la Cerámica erupted in elation (2-0, m. 55).
It was then that Real Madrid woke up though. Cristiano Ronaldo gave a warning sign as his shot struck the post, then it was Bale who pulled one back for the visitors sending a powerful header past Andrés (2-1, m. 63). Excitement was maximum.
The controversial refereeing began in 70th minute. The referee, Gil Marzano, pointed to the penalty spot after an involuntary hand ball by Bruno Soriano. The Yellows were outraged and could not find an explanation for such a decision. So much so that Manager Fran Escribá was sent off for protesting the call. Crisitano Ronaldo stepped up and converted the spot kick (2-2, m. 71).
With Villarreal exasperated, the definitive 2-3 arrived. Marcelo set off down the left wing and his cross was headed home firmly by Morata from close range. The ball ended up in the back of the net despite Andrés’ attempt to keep it out. The Yellows had protested a foul on Samu Castillejo in the middle of the pitch just moments before, but the referee did not give it.
The match finished in an unfair and controversial defeat for the Yellows. Villarreal’s next league fixture will be this Wednesday against Osasuna at the El Sadar stadium (7:30pm CET).
Villarreal CF: Asenjo (Andrés Fernández, m. 34); Mario, Musacchio, Víctor Ruiz, Jaume Costa; Samu Castillejo, Trigueros (Rodrigo, m. 74), Bruno, Jonathan dos Santos; Adrián (Cheryshev, m, 57) and Bakambu.
Real Madrid CF: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro (Isco, m. 57), Modric, Kroos; Bale (Lucas Vázquez, m. 87), Benzema (Morata, m. 76) and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Goals: 1-0. Min. 49: Trigueros. 2-0. Min. 55: Bakambu. 2-1. Min. 63: Bale. 2-2. Min. 73: Cristiano Ronaldo, penalty. 2-3. Min. 83: Morata.
Referee: Gil Manzano (Extremadura, Spain). Cautioned: Bruno and Soldado. Sent off: Villarreal CF Manager, Fran Escribá, for protesting the penalty call
Match information: Match corresponding to the LaLiga Santander Matchday 24, played at the Estadio de la Cerámica.