Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Saturday. The visitors denied them the chance to go five points ahead at the top of LaLiga.
With the win, Real Madrid might have been in on the top of the table with 5 points clear of rest. Instead settled for a three-point advantage after a sloppy performance.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team now has 17 points, three more than city rivals Atletico Madrid, who fell 1-0 away to Alaves earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Villarreal are still undefeated, although they have only won one of their six matches this season, with four of them drawing 0-0.
The performance of Madrid contrasted sharply with their smooth, 6-1 thumping of Mallorca in midweek. In that game, Marco Asensio scored three goals and Karim Benzema scored two. The pair were silent at the Santiago Bernabeu against Villarreal. Carlo Ancelotti achieved his request for tighter defence, albeit at the price of his team’s attacking flow.
“It’s evident that it wasn’t our finest match of the season,” Ancelotti remarked.
Villarreal were the superior team in the first half, led by their two quick wingers. Danjuma on the right and Yeremy Pino on the left.
Danjuma raced past Fede Valverde, but Thibaut Courtois saves it. Pino then set up Paco Alcacer, but his follow-up was not much of a use.
After the interval, Madrid improved. Benzema and Eder Militao both coming close with headers, but Villarreal looked threatening as well. Danjuma forcing another Courtois stop on the break before Pau Torres was inches away from tapping in at the back post.
Ancelotti introduced Eden Hazard, and Madrid turned the wheel in the last 10 minutes, with Hazard crossing for Isco, whose header was hacked away. Vinicius cut inside and appeared to have an opportunity, but he blasted out.