Villarreal once again proved to be strong home side as they recorded this season’s sixth La Liga win at El Madrigal in a highly anticipated match against the in-form Real Madrid, who were dealt their first blow in last six games in all competitions.
Los Blancos have been going from strength to strength since the heavy 4-0 El Clasico defeat, but their run was put to a halt by the sparkling Villarreal who came out the deserved winner in the final match of La Liga Round 15.
Following the quiet 45 minutes Real Madrid attempted to get back in the game but were never allowed to go up on their feet by the well-organized hosts.
Here are the five key points from the fantastic game at El Madrigal.
One of the key players for the home side tonight was definitely Cedric Bakambu. The 24-year-old Congo forward has had a fantastic performance against Real Madrid, proving to be a genuine threat throughout the proceedings.
The summer signing from Bursaspor got an assistance in the game against Real Madrid, declaring himself as the proper team player.
Bakambu opened the game with a fantastic pass to Dos Santos in the first minute of the game, but his teammate was unlucky to get on the scoresheet as the ball hit the post of Keylor Navas’ goal.
However, only seven minutes later the Congo international was involved in a fine play once again, doing great to open up the area for Roberto Soldado, who fired a low shot past Keylor Navas for the winninggoal in the game.
Bakambu continued with his unselfish play in the second half as well, providing his team with much needed composure and strength upfront against the renowned Real Madrid’s backline.
Villarreal manager outwitted his counterpart Rafa Benitez with his tactical solidity which was at hand at El Madrigal. Bravely lined up in 4-4-2 system against Real Madrid’s 4-3-3, Marcelino’s Villareal were instructed well to annihilate any real threat from Real Madrid.
Madrid-based club were unable to break the locks on Villarreal defence, as Marcelino’s men deployed precise man-marking and showed great movement against the fast-paced rivals.
Supported by Trigueros and Bruno in the midfield, Villarreal defenders were comfortably put together against the likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
For the team which scored 21 goals in their last 5 matches, Real Madrid strikers were in deep slumber at Madrigal.
Famous BBC trio was not in the game for much of the first interval. Without a single shot on target, it was just one effort from Benzema worth mentioning, but his shot went over the post.
The French international did not seem deterred by his national team suspension, as he opened the second half with a fine shot off the right post of Areola’s goal, thus announcing much vibrant 45 minutes for his team.
Bale continued, Ronaldo attempted to join in hitting the woodwork in the process, but Madrid’s attacking line was undone for the entire game by well-positioned defending.
Rafa Benitez’s side have endured difficult time at El Madrigal.
Sluggish over the first interval, Los Blancos lacked the cutting edge and were quite the opposite team compared to their romping Champions League victory against Malmo FF during the week.
Tired and inactive, Real Madrid looked tiresome throughout the 45 minutes. Benitez’s half-time team talk did manage to shake things up, but the late awakening yielded no results against the fully motivated hosts who deserved their first win over Real Madrid in their last eleven meetings, since May 2009.
Following their empathic showings against Marcelino’s men, Real Madrid are left five points adrift of joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, having missed the excellent opportunity to close the gap and remain in frame for the title race.
Man of the match without a grain of doubt.
Roberto Soldado’s experience made the decisive difference in the famous win over Los Blancos. Former Tottenham striker rose to the occasion, taking responsibility when it was most needed.
The 30-year-old Spanish striker’s experience was at full display at Madrigal tonight.
Valencia-born frontman scored his third goal in 13 league appearances this season, but the winner versus Real Madrid will have been the most important so far.
Soldado was a solid force upfront, holding the ball against the strong defences and opening spaces for his teammates. The skilled striker had a special motive against Los Blancos tonight, having spent four year at Santiago Bernabeu outfit before moving on to Getafe in 2008/09 season.
Soldado never got the proper chance to prove his worth to the Royal club, tonight’s winner was in a way his message to his former employees.
VILLARREAL: Areola 7 – Bailly 8 (Rukavina 6), Musacchio 7.5, Ruiz 7, Costa 6.5 – Dos Santos 7.5, Trigueros 6.5 (Pina 6), Bruno 6.5, Suarez 6 – Bakambu 7.5, Soldado 8 (Leiva -).
Unused subs: Barbosa, Castillejo, Samuel, Marin.
REAL MADRID: Navas 6 – Danilo 6, Pepe 6.5, Ramos 7, Marcelo 7 (Jese -) – Modric 5.5 (Isco 6), Casemiro 7 (Kovacic -), Rodriguez 7.5 – Bale 7, Benzema 6.5, Ronaldo 7.
Unused subs: Casilla, Nacho, Kroos, Vazquez.
REFEREE: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
Other results this evening:
Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Malaga
Eibar 1-1 Valencia
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao