It looks as if Real Madrid will not be successfully defending the La Liga title after a shock 0-1 home defeat to Villarreal on Saturday left Los Blancos 16 points behind the league leaders. Barcelona are in action on Sunday evening and could increase the gap to 19 points with a win.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side were expecting a tough game against the Yellow Submarine, but a victory was still on the cards before the game due to the attacking power Los Blancos had at their disposal. Though, as the rain fell at the Santiago Bernabeu, the big players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco looked out of sorts.
Ronaldo was denied a penalty in the first half after he felt a trip from Mario Gaspar. That set the tone, as Real dominated much of the first half but could not break through. Marcelo’s good strike was saved by Sergio Asenjo on 17 minutes. The Villarreal keeper was arguably man of the match, as he produced a string of great saves. Ronaldo’s deflected free kick being turned against the bar was a good example.
Pablo Fornals created a great first half chance for Carlos Bacca but the striker was denied by Keylor Navas. Early in the second half, Villarreal almost took the lead when Casemiro was dispossessed and former Los Blancos player Denis Cheryshev shot wide.
They kept coming forward too, and growing in confidence Bacca hit the side netting on 65 minutes. At the other end, Ronaldo hit a shot straight at the Villarreal keeper in what was turning out to be a frustrating afternoon. Luka Modric then had a chance late on but fired over the bar.
Real were then caught on the counter with a goal that may have plunged the club into crisis. Cheryshev picked the ball up and fed Enes Unal. Unal’s shot was kept out by Navas but the rebound fell to Fornals who lobbed the ball into the net. Real are now just a point clear of 5th placed Villarreal. This result, along with the draw at Celta Vigo have put manager Zinedine Zidane under a lot of pressure.