A wasteful Real Madrid were put to the sword by Villarreal, after Pablo Fornal’s late goal ensured that the champions succumbed to their fourth Liga defeat of the season.
Over the course of this game, Real Madrid attempted an astounding 28 games over the course of this game, getting only 7 on target. Those included an offside header from Gareth Bale and a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick that hit the crossbar.
They dominated proceedings in the first half and most of the second, but Villarreal grew in confidence as the game went on and ultimately, they were rewarded for their resilience. In the 87th minute, most of Real’s players were caught up field and Villarreal punished them with a good counter attacking move.
Morale is clearly low at the Bernabeu and Champions League qualification is not a foregone conclusion anymore. Should Barcelona defeat Real Sociedad, Real Madrid will find themselves 19 points behind Barcelona. This means that they will be closer to the relegation zone, than first place.
Keylor Navas: 7/10
Navas wasn’t as busy as his Villarreal counterpart, but he did make 3 good saves on the night. Did well to block Unal’s first shot, but could nothing for the resulting chip from Fornals. Unlucky in that aspect, had a decent game for the most part.
Dani Carvajal: 6/10
His only mistake was that he didn’t track back fast enough to prevent Cheryshev from putting in the cross which ultimately led to Villarreal’s winner. Besides that, the Spaniard had a good game. He defended well, making more tackles and interceptions than any other Real Madrid player, but couldn’t influence the game going forward.
Nacho Fernandez: 7/10
Nacho had a good game, making some important tackles. Prevented Carlos Bacca from getting on the score-sheet with a fine block. Had a decent outing and looked composed for the most part. Couldn’t do anything for winner when he was caught off guard on the counter attack.
Attempted 16 crosses over the course of the game. Found his footing as the game went on and began contributing to his side’s forays going forward. Had a decent game, but didn’t track back fast enough and couldn’t prevent the the initial shot from Enes Unal at Navas, which led to the goal.
Toni Kroos: 6/10
Had a number of shots at goal, but couldn’t get on the score-sheet. Had more touches of the ball than anyone else on the pitch and did a decent job of distributing it to his teammates. Ran the show along with Luka Modric from the middle of the park, but couldn’t influence the game like he would be preferred.
Recovered possession well for his team and had a good outing. Defended well and provided good cover for his teammates, which allowed them to foray forward. Seemed a bit overwhelmed and isolated in the second half as Villarreal began influencing proceedings more.
Luka Modric: 6/10
The Croatian wizard had an uncharacteristically off day in the office. Showed decent energy and industry for the most part and tried to be involved as much as possible. Had a chance to win it for his side, but made a mess of it. Didn’t seem to be his usual self and looked a bit low on confidence.
The Spaniard created more chances (5) than anyone else on the pitch, which is his primary task whilst on the pitch. However, none of those chances could be converted. Did play some good passes, but seemed to be missing his usual spark. Influence and decision-making didn’t get better in the second half and he was withdrawn early.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5.5/10
Couldn’t get on the score sheet no matter how much he tried and Sergio Asnejo being in great form didn’t help his cause either. The Portuguese superstar attempted 11 shots on goal, out of which only 4 were on target. Only German midfielder Toni Kroos, with 5 shots, attempted more.
Ronaldo now has only 16 goals from 24 games this season, with only 4 of them coming in the League. A terrible statistic, given his otherwise audaciously lofty standards. Needs to start scoring on a regular basis sooner rather than later. After all, Real’s Champions League hopes depend on it.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
The Welshman couldn’t build on the good performances he has put in since returning from injury. He was involved in Real’s build up play a bit more than Ronaldo, but like his partner upfront, couldn’t make an impact and save his side on the night. Withdrawn early, as he isn’t back to full fitness.