Villarreal hold depleted Real, Huesca remain win-less post draw against Osasuna - GulfToday

Villarreal hold depleted Real, Huesca remain win-less post draw against Osasuna


Villarreal’s goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo blocks a shot on goal by Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. AFP

Gulf Today Report

A stuttering Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw against in-form in their away Spanish League match on Saturday.

Mariano Diaz broke the deadlock as early as in the second minute of the game to put Real 1-0 ahead.

But after taking a vital lead, Real complacency seemed to creep in as Real spurn a chance to post a win and Villarreal put up a gusty performance to snatch a draw on their home turf. Villarreal claimed a deserved point through Gerard Moreno’s second-half penalty.

Mariano was almost sold last summer but had to stand in for Karim Benzema, who is injured, and Luka Jovic, who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

Sergio Ramos and Casemiro were also missing following the international break.

Given their absentees, a draw may not worry Zidane too much, particularly against a Villarreal side who sat second at kick-off after four victories on the bounce.

But another slip means Madrid have now won only three of their last seven games in all competitions, with a crucial visit to Inter Milan to come in the Champions League on Wednesday.

If Atletico Madrid beat Barcelona they will move three points clear of their city rivals, with a game in hand, and nine ahead of Barca.

Mariano had not started for Real Madrid since May 2019, when he again scored early against Villarreal after just 83 seconds.

He was not far behind this time, heading in Dani Carvajal’s cross after Villarreal’s defence had stopped for an offside on Lucas Vazquez that never materialised.

Villarreal increasingly took charge of the game, their slick passing giving a sense of control but few chances, the best of them in the first half falling to Dani Parejo, who nodded over.

But Madrid appeared to tyre as the match wore on and Villarreal’s pressure turned more threatening in the last 20 minutes, with Moreno flashing wide from the angle and then Parejo missing the target from a cutback.

The equaliser was late but deserved, as Thibaut Courtois flew out to meet a through-ball for Moreno but arrived second and fouled the striker with his hands.

Courtois dived the right way but Moreno’s shot was well-placed into the corner.

Earlier, Osasuna came from behind to draw with Huesca 1-1 on Friday, keeping the visitors winless since their return to the Spanish League.

Huesca dominated early at El Sadar Stadium. Sandro Ramirez finished off a poor clearance by Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

After not creating any scoring chances in the first half, Osasuna improved with substitutes made at the restart. Defender David García equalized in the 68th when he headed in a set-piece.

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