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Real Madrid vs Villarreal: La Liga LIVE at the Bernabeu

Real Madrid host Villarreal at the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon as they bid to keep track of runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Zinedine Zidane is under pressure following Madrid’s disastrous start to their title defence which sees them fourth in the table after 22 matches but his side can close the gap on Barcelona to 13 points with victory over Villarreal.

Join me, ROBERT COTTINGHAM, as Sportsmail guide you through all of the action at the Bernabeu with help from PETE JENSON. Kick-off is at 3.15pm with team news expected around an hour before.

If you are using the app, please click here to view today’s live blog

FULL TIME 1-0 Villarreal

The referee blows his whistle to bring an end to the match and with that, the last of Real Madrid’s title hopes have been killed off.

Devastating counter-attack from Villarreal and wonderful chipped winner from Fornals. The midfielder showed incredible composure to clip home over Navas when the ball fell to him.

But Madrid should have been two or three goals up by that point and only have themselves to blame for missing a host of chances – particularly in the first half.

Madrid are 15 points behind Barcelona now and that looks to be their title defence done and dusted in La Liga – if it wasn’t already.

Fornals is congratulated by Trigueros after his late winning goal sealed the three points

Three minutes added time

The Bernabeu crowd are stunned – Madrid are on the verge of losing their second straight home game.

Lucas Vazquez is booked for a late tackle. Madrid are probing but with no real end product. Zidane’s men look shell-shocked by that late Fornal goal.

GOAL 1-0 to Villarreal – Fornals

Delightful chip from Fornals and Villarreal have stunned the Bernabeu!

A counter-attack from inside their own penalty sees Unal played in on goal but Navas comes out brilliantly to smother his shot.

The ball rebounds to Fornals from outside the area and he delivers an inch-perfect chip over the outstretched arm of Navas and into the empty net!

Replays show Unal looked to have been offside but Villarreal don’t care – wild celebrations on the bench.

Villarreal's players celebrate their late goal

Asensio chance!

Villarreal almost shoot themselves in the foot by going to sleep from a corner. Marcelo catches them cold and drives a cross in towards Asensio.

Asensio has a swing at it but Trigueros’ block sees his shot deflected off Ronaldo and wide of the goal. Vazquez then has a cross of his own but it’s smothered.

Rukavina on, Castillejo off

Samu Castillejo comes off in place of Serbian veteran Antonio Rukavina as Javier Calleja looks to shut up shop now for the away side.

Modric over!

Luka Modric blazes an effort over and Madrid are running out of time here now.

Lucas Vazquez dribbles into the penalty area and dallies for what seems like an age before finding the Croatian, who had queued up just inside the box.

But he gets it all wrong and blasts his shot over Asenjo’s bar – good chance wasted from the Real Madrid man. That’s there 26th shot of the match!

Madrid’s midfield trio disappointing

Madrid’s midfield three of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric are just not the force they were last season.

Trigueros and Rodri have largely kept them quiet all afternoon, snapping at their heels and intercepting their stray passes.

It would be a third consecutive draw in all competitions for Madrid if it stays like this – Zidane will be praying it doesn’t.

Modric wasn't at his best on Saturday

Unal on, Bacca off

The ex-Manchester City striker Enes Unal is introduced in place of Carlos Bacca – who has endured a frustrating game up front for the away side.

His best chance came in the first half but he fluffed his lines – looks a striker low on confidence. Let’s see what his replacement can offer.

Madrid need more urgency

Asensio is playing up front and picks up where Gareth Bale left off next to Ronaldo. He’s involved as Madrid craft another Carjaval cross but it’s got just too much on it for Ronaldo.

Vazquez slots in behind Asensio and Ronaldo – the Spaniard is less creative than Isco but more direct and it could be what Madrid need here to make the breakthrough.

Vazquez and Asensio on, Isco and Bale off

There’s just 20 minutes left here plus stoppage time and Madrid are still being held at home by Villarreal.

Zidane casts an eye to his substitute bench and summons Asensio and Vazquez for Bale and Isco. The Welshman’s substitution is not well received by the crowd.

PETE JENSON: Bale slowed slightly in the second half, Isco was ineffective. Ronaldo remains the untouchable one and stays on regardless. Isco not too happy at being taken off, his confidence destroyed at Christmas when he played no part in the Clasico.

Villarreal frustrating

No way through for Madrid at the moment – the yellow shirts are suffocating the likes of Bale, Isco and Ronaldo and home fans are getting frustrated.

Ronaldo cuts inside and tamely rolls his 12th effort on goal so far today right at Asenjo. Zidane is growing increasingly exasperated on the touchline – he needs a win here and he knows it.

Ronaldo has 12 efforts on goal 65 minutes in

Bacca wide!

Samu Castillejo has been a willing runner down the flanks for Villarreal and with Madrid’s defence pushing forward he’s being afforded more space to attack.

He receives the ball on the touchline and drives at Madrid before crossing to Bacca. The Colombian shoots on goal on the turn but his effort is just wide.

The away side have shown more attacking intent this half – they are still frustrating Madrid but carry a threat of their own up front on the counter.

Carjaval booked

Carjaval clips Bacca with a cynical foul to end a Villarreal counter-attack before it had started. Clever from the Spanish defender but he receives a booking for his troubles.

The free-kick is whipped into the box but cleared by Madrid’s defence. The home side break and advance the ball quickly but Ronaldo’s pass to Bale is cut out by Gaspar’s lunge.

Final passing lacking

Villarreal come close to springing a counter-attack but not for the first time today, their final ball lets them down. This time it’s Cherysev’s pass to Bacca which is easily cut out.

Madrid are committing more and more men forward as they go in search of the opener and Villarreal might be able to take advantage.

The game is definitely becoming more stretched – chances for both sides opening up.

Kroos’ volley saved

Bacca starts a Villarreal attack and he works it to Castillejo. He crosses but Varane snuffs out the threat with a clearance under pressure.

Up the other end, Kroos waits for Carjaval’s to drop out the sky and fires a half-volley right at Asenjo. Great technique from the German.

Gareth Bale and Madrid are still in search of the opening goal

Chance for Cherysev!

That’s a big chance for Cherysev against his old club – one he should have buried.

The Russian advances in goal, feints inside to shake off the attentions of Nacho and drags his shot just wide of Navas’ post.

Big chance for Cherysev and he knows it – maybe came too soon for the winger after coming on just a couple of minutes before.


Real Madrid get the second half underway. Villarreal have made a half-time substitution.

Daniel Raba has come off to be replaced by former Real Madrid winger Denis Cherysev.

The Madrid youth product never got a fair chance at the Bernabeu and will be desperate to show Los Blancos what they are missing. It looks to be a straight swap tactically and he slots in behind Bacca.

Asenjo impressing

Sergio Asenjo in the Villarreal goal has been in impressive form to keep Madrid at bay.

The keeper acrobatically saved Marcelo’s rasping effort, which looked to be heading into the top corner, during the early stages.

And he delivered once again when he smothered Ronaldo’s shot from close range a minute before the interval. The 28-year-old has been Villarreal’s best player so far.

Madrid should be two up

Madrid should be one or two goals up here – completely dominant from the offset but haven’t taken their chances in front of goal.

Ronaldo has been the biggest culprit with eight shots on goal in the opening period. His one-on-one was a chance he’d have gobbled up last season and his shot straight at the goalkeeper at the end of the half was another gilt-edged opportunity – though it might have been a penalty.

But we’ve been here before with Madrid this season and too often have they failed to make their dominance count. They need something in this second half if they are to keep the dying embers of the title race alive.


Real Madrid well on top but no goals yet. Huge chance for Ronaldo right at the end of the half and Madrid can feel aggrieved not to have been given a penalty.

PETE JENSON: If Ronaldo goes down there instead of shooting it’s a penalty. Gaspar caught him but he takes the shot and it’s another chance gone. Madrid 0-0 but not jeered off at half-time because they have been unlucky.


Massive chance for Ronaldo – but was he fouled as he went to shoot?

Villarreal’s defence are pinned back in their own penalty area and Madrid take advantage. Isco spreads to Bale who crosses for Ronaldo who had got in front of Gaspar.

But Gaspar catches Ronaldo with a slight kick and it puts off the Real Madrid superstar just as he is about to shoot – his effort is saved by Asenjo.

Huge protests from Madrid but they are waved away by the referee – looked a penalty judging from the replays!

Ronaldo looked to have been clipped as he went to shoot

Bale chance!

Madrid counter-attack through Isco and the little Spaniard draws two defenders before touching on to Bale. The Welshman checks back before curling an effort just past of Asenjo’s post.

Up the other end, Bacca is booked for a meaty challenge on Casemiro – pretty nasty kick there from the Colombian on the Brazilian.

Lovely stuff from Madrid

Madrid might not have scored yet but they are stroking it around on the rain-soaked Bernabeu pitch with some swagger. Isco and Modric in particular spraying some lovely passes about.

Isco drops his shoulder and pirouettes before driving a low cross which is flicked wide by Bale. Villarreal are really pinned back here – can barely get out of their own half.

Handball shout!

Huge penalty shout for Madrid but the referee waves away Madrid’s protests.

Kroos’ cross to the near post is flicked on by Bale, who struggles to make contact but nudges it into the path of Bonera.

It looks to hit the arm of Bonera, who had them raised as the cross came in. Big shout for a spot-kick there and replays suggest they have a case.

Goals continuing to allude Madrid

PETE JENSON: Modric paid for Ronaldo’s desperation there – a square pass might have found him but Ronaldo so anxious to improve on just 4 league goals so far this season.

Madrid playing well but goals continue to be a problem. It has been 11 seasons since they have scored as few at this stage of the season.

Ronaldo chance!

Ronaldo has another sight of goal but fires his shot wide from a tough angle. He looks to the skies and screams in frustration.

Madrid well on top here and it feels like just a matter of time before they make the breakthrough – Villarreal can’t afford to give away too many more chances like that.

Spoke to soon!

Spoke to soon! First chance for Villarreal as Bacca is played in by a wonderful pass from the outside of Fornal’s boot. He dallies and Nacho is able to dispossess him.

Up the other end Cristiano Ronaldo is played in on goal by a incisive pass from Luka Modric who scythes open the Villarreal defence with a through ball.

Ronaldo waits for Asenjo to come out but dinks his shot just wide of the past – real chance for the Portuguese there and one he should be taking.

Modric battles for the ball

Villarreal carrying little threat

Not much in the way of chances for the away side so far.

Some tidy touches and lovely possession football but Villarreal lacking a cutting edge. Bakambu’s absence being felt so far by the Yellow Submarines.

Ronaldo hits the bar!

Ronaldo smashes a free-kick off the crossbar!

Four men surround a Real Madrid free-kick but only one is taking it. Ronaldo takes an age placing the ball on his spot, doing his step back and sigh routine and staring down the wall.

And he fires a stinging, swerving effort which dips late on and strikes the crossbar of the Villarreal goal – not sure if Asenjo got a touch there.

Save Asenjo!

Always willing to take a pop-shot on goal, Marcelo picks up the ball around 30 yards from goal and knocks the ball forward before firing one off at Asenjo’s goal.

It’s a powerful effort which arrows towards the top corner but Asenjo is equal to it and produces a diving save to keep it out.

Madrid beginning to turn the screw a little bit here. Rain pouring down at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid begin to turn the screw

Heavy challenge on Ronaldo

PETE JENSON: Ronaldo seems to have run off his ankle knock but he took a really heavy challenge on it so it could be one of those that flares up post-match.

Madrid play Leganes in the Cup quarter-finals on Thursday. Villarreal missing Cedric Bakambu sold to China last week. Not carrying a great deal of threat so far.

Disallowed goal Bale!

Real Madrid swing in a corner and Varane flicks a header towards goal into the path of Bale – who nods home from close range.

But the Welshman was in an offside position and the goal is disallowed – replays indicate the decision was correct.

Bale looks lively in these opening stages – playing on the left side of a two-pronged attack next to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Madrid almost shoot themselves in the foot

A misplaced pass from Madrid falls to Raba as he advances in the area- he is tackled before he can get a shot off by a lunging challenge by Nacho.

Good recovery from the Real Madrid centre back but Zidane’s men need to be more careful with the ball.

Intensity from Real Madrid

PETE JENSON: Real intensity from Madrid in the opening stages. They have had clear the air meetings this week and there is a definite increase in tempo.

Bale has fond memories of playing Villarreal scored in his debut against them four years ago.

Madrid chance!

Marcelo wins a corner high up the pitch in their first real sight of goal. Villarreal half-clear the set piece and it falls to Isco, who fires a shot at Gaspar.

Small shout for a handball but didn’t look a penalty before Nacho’s shot goes wide of the goal – Villarreal survive.

Early chance for Villarreal

Raba plays in Bacca and the Columbian’s shot is blocked by Varane. Bacca has been given the chance tonight up front for Villarreal with Bakambu in China to complete his move to Beijing Guoan.

Varane chases the ball


Villarreal get the match underway and enjoy an early spell of possession. Look to have set up in a 4-1-1 formation with Bacca in front of Raba.

Three minutes till kick-off!

🎯 @GarethBale11

🎯 @Cristiano#RMLiga |

— Real Madrid C.F.🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) January 13, 2018

The Yellow Submarines

Madrid host a Villarreal side currently sixth in the table following a solid start to the season.

The Yellow Submarines beat Leganes 2-1 in the Copa del Rey last time out but crashed out to the second-division side on away goals.

Villarreal start with ex-AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca up front partnering Daniel Raba.

Cedric Bakambu is not included in the squad as he completes his £65million move to Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan.

Mikel Trigueros and Villarreal were dumped out of the Copa del Rey in midweek

Players warming up – 20 minutes till kick-off!

🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️#RMLiga |

— Real Madrid C.F.🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) January 13, 2018

Madrid can close gap to 13

The title race looks all but done in La Liga with Barcelona currently nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 16 points ahead of Madrid.

Ernesto Valverde’s side play Real Sociedad on Sunday evening but Madrid can narrow the gap on their biggest rivals to 13 with a win today – Los Blancos have played a game less than Barcelona due to their Club World Cup commitments.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to help Madrid close the gap to 13 points today

Bale and Ronaldo up top

Looks like Gareth Bale will partner Cristiano Ronaldo up front for Madrid with Isco in the No 10 role supplying the ammunition.

Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos form the midfield three and it’s a backline of Dani Carjaval, Nacho, Raphael Varane and Marcelo.

Nacho and Carjaval are the only survivors from the midweek draw against Numancia in the Copa del Rey last time out as Zidane brings back the big names for La Liga.

Gareth Bale will start up front alongside Cristiano Ronaldo

Zidane in trouble

It really has been a desperate first half of the season for Real Madrid and the pressure is mounting on their manager Zinedine Zidane.

The league champions are 16 points off leaders Barcelona heading into today’s match and currently occupy fourth spot in the table.

Anything less than three points against sixth-placed Villarreal this afternoon would be another nail in the coffin for Madrid’s title hopes.

Pressure is mounting on Zinedine Zidane

Team news

REAL MADRID XI: Navas; Carjaval, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casemiro; Isco, Bale, Ronaldo

Subs: Casilla, Vallejo, Theo Hernandez, Lucas Vazquez, Asensio, Mayoral, Kovacic

VILLARREAL XI: Asenjo, Mario, Bonera, Alvaro, Costa, Rodrigo, Castillejo, Trigueros, Fornals, Raba, Bacca

Subs: Barbosa, Marin, Rukavina, Pau, Cherysev, Ramiro, Unal

Good afternoon!

And welcome to Sportsmail’s live coverage of Real Madrid’s home clash with Villarreal.

Zinedine Zidane desperately needs a win to keep his side within touching distance of league-leaders Barcelona, who are 16 points clear of Madrid.

Join me, ROBERT COTTINGHAM, as Sportsmail guide you through all of the action at the Bernabeu with help from PETE JENSON. Kick-off is at 3.15pm with team news expected around an hour before.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are bidding to close the gap on Barcelona to 13 points

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are bidding to close the gap on Barcelona to 13 points

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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