Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane's men finish La Liga season with draw
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 20/05/18 9:37am
Real Madrid finished their La Liga campaign with a 2-2 draw at Villarreal, who came from 2-0 down at half-time to grab a point.
It was a performance that arguably epitomised the league campaign for Zinedine Zidane's men, who could not hold their concentration after Gareth Bale (11) and Cristiano Ronaldo (32) gave them a two-goal lead in the first half.
Villarreal dominated the second period and deserved the draw as Roger Martinez (70) scored a stunning goal before Samu Casillejo (85) completed the comeback.
Real Madrid will now finish the season in third place behind champions Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, while Villarreal were assured of fifth spot heading into the game.
Villarreal: Andres (6), Mario (7), Bonera (6), Alvaro (7), Marin (7), Rodrigo (8), Fornals (7), Fuego (7), Soriano (7), Sansone (7), Unal (7).
Subs used: Al-Dawsari (5), Martinez (7), Castillejo (6).
Real Madrid: Luca (6), Carvajal (7), Ramos (6), Varane (7), Marcelo (6), Kroos (7), Modric (7), Casemiro (7), Bale (7), Isco (6), Ronaldo (7).
Subs used: Benzema (5), Vazquez (5), Kovacic (5).
Man of the match: Rodrigo.
Real Madrid began the game well and took advantage of their pressure when Bale netted in the 11th minute. It was some superb anticipation from Luka Modric to take a quick free-kick, slipping the ball to Bale as he made his way into the area. The Welshman then nutmegged Daniele Bonera before hitting low and hard past goalkeeper Andres.
Villarreal's best chance of the half came on the half-hour mark as Pablo Fornals collected the ball and took a few strides across the top of the area before shooting through the legs of Raphael Varane, but it just skimmed the upright.
Villarreal made seven changes with only Mario, Alvaro, Rodrigo and Pablo Fonals remaining. Real Madrid made four changes, with Luca Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos back in the XI.
The visitors doubled their lead not long after. It was the sweetest of diagonal passes from Isco that picked out Marcelo on the left flank. He controlled the ball well before scooping a cross into the area, which was duly converted by the waiting Ronaldo with a powerful header.
Villarreal were much improved in the second half. Luca Zidane made a superb, fingertip save from a curling Nicola Sansone free-kick just after the restart before Sergio Ramos was forced into a goal-line clearance in the 67th minute to keep an Enes Unal header from hitting the back of the net.
But Villarreal deservedly found the breakthrough three minutes later. Two minutes after coming on as a substitute, Martinez was slipped in down the left of the area by Rodrigo, before powering a superb effort into the top far corner.
The hosts completed their comeback in the 85th minute after some poor defensive play from Real Madrid. Rodrigo got his second assist of the evening as he played a ball over the top for Castillejo, who pulled away from Marcelo to latch onto the pass. He then rounded Zidane, who had come off his line, before slotting home into an open net and securing the draw.
Man of the match - Rodrigo
Rodrigo pulled the strings in the middle of the park for Villarreal and was key in the comeback as the club went unbeaten against Real Madrid this season.
He assisted both goals for the hosts with the second, in particular, showing off his anticipation of play, although he was arguably lucky that Real Madrid's defence were slightly off the pace. Nonetheless, he helped turn the game against a strong side and that cannot be underestimated.
Villarreal's season is over but Real Madrid have a final fixture to play and it is a big one - the Champions League final against Liverpool next Saturday in Kiev.