If only Villarreal played this way against everyone. The Yellow Submarine played Real Madrid off the park on the first 45 minutes and then held on, with some wasteful finishing on both sides, for a famous 1-0 win before a packed--and cold--crowd at El Madrigal.
Villarreal could have scored within three minutes, as a Cedric Bakambu run set up Jonathan dos Santos but his shot caromed off the far post. However, within ten minutes Villarreal were ahead, Bruno Soriano dispossessing Danilo, passing to Bakambu, who found Roberto Soldado just ahead of Pepe--and Bobby Soldier put his shot past Keylor Navas.
The Submarine could have scored twice more, Bakambu scuffing a shot wide of the far post in the 26th minute with just the keeper to beat and later hitting a hurried shot wide when he had both Soldado and Jona open for better opportunities. Real Madrid were curiously inept, apart from Marcelo who was a constant threat.
HT Villarreal 1-0 Real Madrid
If the first half was all Villarreal, the second half was almost all Madrid. Whatever Rafa Benitez told his charges at halftime must've made an impression, because Benzema could have scored twice in the first five minutes but couldn't get his shot on target. Gareth Bale had a good chance palmed away by a diving Alphonse Areola, and Villarreal had little to offer at the other end.
Madrid kept the pressure on, and Benzema had another great chance but headed wide from in front of the net with Villarreal a man down, Eric Bailly receiving treatment for a shoulder injury. Villarreal should have put the match out of doubt with three minutes left, but Bakambu chose to try a difficult shot from the top of the box while he had an onside Nahuel cutting in from the right with only the keeper to beat.
Madrid continued to struggle: when presented with a dangerous free kick their front line managed to all be offside, and their final chance in injury time was a fairly low-risk header from Ramos that went well wide anyway.
FT VIllarreal 1-0 Real Madrid
A fair result, given we probably should have scored about three goals and them two. A tremendous effort from everyone and while Marcelino's starting lineup seemed a bit of a surprise (Bailly at right back? No Pina in midfield?) it worked wonders.
As with Barcelona, it's no shame to admit there is a tremdous gulf in talent and financial resources, and to offset that your team has to be well prepared, not commit many errors, and take advantage of opportunities. It helps if Madrid has an off-day, too...but sometimes you make the opponent have an off-day. That seemed to be the case here.