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Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid: a tale of two halves

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Villarreal v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

And so, Villarreal brings down the curtain on their 2017-18 La Liga season with a 2-2 draw at home against Real Madrid. Villarreal close in fifth place on 61 points, while Madrid finish third on 76.

The first half was pretty dreadful from a Villarreal point of view—apart from a couple of chances early, it was Madrid who had the best opportunities to score, and Gareth Bale drilled home a loose ball after 11 minutes to give Madrid the lead. They went farther ahead when Cristiano Ronaldo added a second shortly after the half-hour mark, and Cristiano really should have scored again before the break. Sure, Villarreal had something of a makeshift lineup and was playing a 4-4-2, but still

Whatever Calleja said to the team at halftime, it certainly worked, because the second half was a much different story. The long-awaited/rumored debut of Salem Al Dawsari happened, perhaps slightly earlier than usual, after 57 minutes as he replaced the injured Javi Fuego in midfield. Enes Ünal had a header cleared off the line by Sergio Ramos shortly afterward, but it was Roger Martinez and Samu Castillejo, who came on for Ünal and Fornals, respectively, who provided our goals.

Roger took a pass from Rodri and scored a golazo past Enzo Zidane in the Madrid net, while five minutes from time Casti had the easiest of finishes form another Rodri feed after being nicely played onside by Marcelo.

Madrid had a golden chance to win it in injury time, but Andrés Fernandez pulled off a fine save to deny Karim Benzema.

Full time 2-2, then, and MOTM was surely Rodrigo Hernandez, who will be departing for Atletico Madrid in the summer. He just got too good too fast for us to hold onto him, but his sale money will help us look for a replacement.

Roberto Soriano and Nicola Sansone had decent games, but will probably depart, too, while Roger Martínez showed quality and notched his forst goal with Villarreal. And Salem did not look bad at all and even gets his name in the referee’s book—for our last yellow card of the season!