Villarreal edge out Real Madrid to pile pressure on Zinedine Zidane

Villarreal piled the pressure on under-fire Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as they snatched a 1-0 win over the struggling LaLiga champions at the Bernabeu.

Real reached the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey – where they will face Leganes – in midweek, but started the day 16 points behind rivals Barcelona in the league.

That massive gap remains in tact after a sublime finish from Pablo Fornals finished off an 87th-minute counter-attack from the Yellow Submarine, who had goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to thank for a number of vital saves.

Tweet of the match

Man of the match – Sergio Asenjo

Villarreal’s goalkeeper was in inspired form, particularly in the first half, ensuring his side had the platform to snatch all three points at the death. Asenjo saved brilliantly from Marcelo’s thumping drive and turned Cristiano Ronaldo’s swerving free-kick onto the bar, but arguably his best stop was from point-blank range as Ronaldo looked certain to convert Isco’s cross in the last seconds of the opening period.

Moment of the match

With Real running out of ideas, Villarreal easily dealt with a poor corner in the 87th minute and launched a quick counter-attack which sent Denis Cheryshev racing clear down the left. His pass found Enes Unal in the centre of the penalty area and although Unal’s shot was blocked by the onrushing Keylor Navas, it landed to Fornals to chip a first-time shot over the despairing goalkeeper.

Stat attack

Player ratings

Cristiano Ronaldo
(Paul White/AP)

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas 7 (out of 10), Dani Carvajal 6, Raphael Varane 7, Nacho 6, Marcelo 6, Carlos Casemiro 6, Toni Kroos 6, Luka Modric 6, Isco 6, Gareth Bale 5, Cristiano Ronaldo 6. Subs: Vazquez Lucas (for Isco, 70) 5, Marco Asensio (for Bale, 70) 5.

Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo 10, Gaspar Mario 7, Daniele Bonera 6, Gonzalez lvaro 6, Costa 7, Samu Castillejo 7, Rodrigo 6, Trigueros 6, Pablo Fornals 8, Daniel Raba 6, Bacca 7. Subs: Denis Cheryshev (for Raba, 46) 8, Enes Unal (for Bacca, 76) 7, Antonio Rukavina (for Castillejo, 83) 6.

Who’s up next?

Leganes v Real Madrid (Copa del Rey, January 18)

Villarreal v Levante (LaLiga, January 20)

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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