Villarreal went head to head with the reigning LaLiga champions. The Yellows drew against Real Madrid in an exciting match that had everything: two goals, refereeing controversy, goalscoring chances… The side from the Spanish capital went ahead early on thanks to a controversial goal from Mariano, while the Yellows’ goal came from Gerard Moreno from the penalty spot.
Unai Emery lined up with a 4-3-3 once more, although Paco Alcácer was unable to be involved due to a muscle strain in his left hamstring. Carlos Bacca came in for him to lead the line. The Yellows came up against a Real Madrid who needed the three points to try and stay towards the top of the table.
Los Blancos went ahead on the scoreboard with only a few seconds gone. It was controversial. The assistant referee had raised his flag due to a Lucas Vázquez offside, but then decided to change his mind, lowering the flag, and the cross from Dani Carvajal moments later was then headed into the back of the net by Mariano (0-1). It caught everyone by surprise.
Villarreal had a lot of possession in the first half, although they came up against a solid defence. There were not many clear goalscoring opportunities. The best chance for the Yellows came in the 20th minute after a Gerard cross, which was headed over the bar by Dani Parejo.
The Yellows came out after the half-time break giving their all, searching for the draw. They came close after Parejo won the ball back, before Gerard shot just wide after a Manu Trigueros pass.
Emery made three changes with an hour on the clock to try and turn the game around. Samu Chukwueze, Pervis Estupiñán and Yeremy Pino came on, with Villarreal gaining speed and an ability to cause the opponents danger on the wings.
In the 69th minute, the Yellows had another great chance. Estupiñán got free down the left flank, and his low cross found Parejo, who fired off a potent shot that just went wide.
Villarreal’s good work got its reward with 15 minutes left. Estupiñán played a great through ball for Chukwueze, who was brought down by Thibaut Courtois. Gerard stepped up to take the following penalty, which he fired home (1-1).
The Yellows were convinced they could get the winner. Gerard came close. Vicente Iborra won the ball high up from Luka Modric, and the ball fell to the Yellows’ No.7’s feet, but he waited slightly too long and Varane was able to block his effort.
Take Kubo had the final chance after a spectacular counter-attack from the home side. Courtois stopped it well to avoid it being 2-1. The match ended all square after a great show at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Next up for Villarreal is an away game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the UEFA Europa League (Thursday, 6:55pm CET).
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario Gaspar (Rubén Peña, m. 87), Albiol, Pau, Pedraza (Estupiñán, m. 60); Trigueros (Yeremy, m. 60), Iborra, Parejo; Gerard, Bacca (Chukwueze, m. 60), Moi Gómez (Take, m. 88).
Real Madrid CF: Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Varane, Mendy; Kroos, Modric, Odegaard (Isco, m. 64); Lucas Vázquez, Mariano (Asensio, m. 85), Hazard (Vinicius, m. 64).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 2: Mariano. 1-1. Min. 75: Gerard (penalty).
Referee: Hernández Hernández . Booked: Yeremy (Villarreal); Nacho, Kroos (Real Madrid).
Matchday information: Match corresponding to LaLiga Matchday 10 at the Estadio de la Cerámica.