Villarreal 0-0 Real Madrid summary: score, goals, highlights, LaLiga
Villarreal 0-0 Real Madrid: as it happened
Villarreal vs Real Madrid: headlines
- Villarreal and Madrid draw at La Cerámica for the fifth consecutive Liga game
- Jovic clips the bar late on and Aurier clears off the line from Carvajal's follow-up
- Bale strike tipped onto the bar by Rulli
- Danjuma hits the post with best chance of the opening 45
- Villarreal lucky to escape a penalty as Albiol elbows Vinicius, but Asensio spared red for a stamp on Iborra
Villarreal 0-0 Real Madrid: match summary
Sevilla gained ground on Real Madrid in the title race as Julen Lopetegui's side tasted victory against Elche on Friday night and Carlo Ancelotti's leaders were held for a fifth consecutive Liga fixture by Villarreal in La Cerámica on Saturday.
It was a game that had everything, from the pre-match surprise of Gareth Bale starting for the first time since August to a crossbar and goal line clearance in the final seconds, via a possible penalty on Vinicius and a probable red card against Marco Asensio, none of which moved the referee to react.
Villarreal created few chances but hit the post themselves through Arnaut Danjuma while both Bale and Jovic rattled the bar for Madrid, but neither side found a way to make a definitive breakthrough in a seesaw encounter that provided plenty of entertainment but no goals.
Lopetegui will come out of the weekend the big winner as he seeks to put one over on his former side by denying Madrid the title and the game between the two at the Sánchez Pizjuán on the weekend of 17 April currently looks to be the biggest of the season.
Four points in it now at the top of the table. Madrid have to travel to the Sánchez Pizjuán still.
What a game! Confucius once opined that some of the best matches finish goalless and this was one of those.
And there's the whistle! The points are shared in La Cerámica and dare we say it, Hay Liga!
Free kick to Villarreal, precious seconds off the clock...
Jovic hits the post! Aurier clears the rebound from Carvajal off the line! Villarreal hang on!
Three minutes added!
Courtois! What a stop from the Belgian as Villarreal break through Estupiñan!
Casemiro finds his way into the book for clambering all over Moreno.
Villarreal erring on the side of caution bringing the ball out from the back now.
And Lo Celso heads off to an ovation, Serge Aurier on for the hosts.
Lo Celso! The Argentinean gets a shot off under pressure and it takes a deflection on its way through to Courtois, taking all the sting out of it.
Villarreal have been rejuvenated by the changes and have Madrid pinned back at the moment.
More changes for Madrid, Vinicius off to a chorus of jeers, which is becoming a weekly sign of what a threat he is, alongside Marcelo, Hazard and Nacho on.
Luka Modric and Rodrygo on, Fede Valverde and Asensio off.
Casemiro! Estupiñan sends in a fizzing cross and the Brazilian cuts it out under a foul from Moreno.
Courtois! What was Marcelo thinking? The ball spirals up and towards the top corner of the Madrid goal and the Belgian is forced into a save by his own captain!
Bale also heads off, Luka Jovic on for Madrid.
Yeremy and Estupiñan on for Villarreal, Pedraza and Chukwueze off.
Bale rescues a ball on the left and feeds Vinicius, who wriggles into the area but the flag is up.
Corner for Madrid as Casemiro's effort spins off a defender.
Free kick for Villarreal as Carvajal goes through Pedraza.
20 shots in the game so far, five on target, only one of those from the home side.
First changes of the game as Emery sends on Trigueros and Dia for Danjuma and Iborra.
Bale again, Rulli again! A poor clearance is sent back in to the Madrid forward, who tries to clip the ball around the keeper but a providential hand sends it out for a corner.
Vinicius has now switched to the central role for Madrid.
Rulli! Parejo is caught napping and Valverde feeds Vinicius, whose shot is saved at the near post by the Villarreal stoper.
Bale! Vinicius finds the Welshman drifting in from the right and he unleashes a shot onto the bar that Rulli just got a fingertip to.
Lo Celso! He'd picked his spot but slipped as he was shaping to shoot and his effort flies over.
Albiol goes into the book as he does what he needs to to prevent Vinicius from getting clear on the left.
Asensio! He scores a few from there and the Madrid winger lets fly from Marcelo's tee-up but his shot flashes over the bar.
Back underway in La Cerámica!
Madrid should have probably have had a penalty in the first half for Albiol's elbow on Vinicius, but the visitors should also be down to 10 men for Asensio's stamp on Iborra.
And there goes the whistle to bring a very entertaining half to an end! Plenty of talking points but few clear-cut chances beyond Danjuma's effort. Villarreal are edging the contest on points as we head into the break.
Kroos finally delivers and Casemiro arrives unattended at the far post but the flag is up as he heads wide.
Uffff, Parejo... the Villarreal midfielder swings an arm into Vinicius' face as Kroos is shaping to take. The ref tells everyone to jolly well calm it down.
Dangerous free kick on the edge of the area as Foyth and Parejo combine to floor Vinicius.
Marcelo! Great defending from the Madrid captain, who keeps a cool head to trap a ball and clear with Courtois all at sea.
Bale into the book for a trip on Lo Celso. The former Spurs teammates enjoy a chuckle.
Four minutes added.
Villarreal have a three on three but Chukwueze hesitates and looks to the far post for support when he might have been better going it alone.
Bale! The forward springs the offside trap, controls Casemiro's ball over the top well and looks to chip Rulli, who makes an excellent save!
Chukwueze picks up the ball on the right and heads to the area, past Marcelo and Asensio, but Casemiro comes across to disposses the winger.
Villarreal win a third corner of the game but the delivery is deep into Courtois territory and he gathers easily.
Half-hearted appeals for a handball against Alaba from the home fans. Chukwueze picks up the ricochet and sends a curling effort well wide.
Courtois! Lo Celso sees his shot blocked and Parejo whacks the rebound on target but the Belgian makes a sharp stop to deny the Villarreal midfielder.
Bale! The forward drops back in search of the ball and plays a little one-two before lashing a shot wide. He has been completely isolated so far with Madrid unable to get the ball to his feet.
Samu Chukwueze again! The Nigerian skins Marcelo and stands a lovely cross to the far post that Carvajal turns around for a corner. If we were Emery, we'd be instructing Villarreal to get the ball to the winger as often as possible.
Iborra is back on his feet.
Asensio is lucky only to go in the book as he plants his studs into the ankle of Iborra. That was a possible red.
Kroos finds Vinicius on the left and the Brazilian attempts to curl an effort past Rulli at the far post. It's out for a goal kick though and Bale is wondering why Vinicius didn't deliver to him in a better position.
Bale and Asensio seem to have switched positions, the Spaniard moving into the middle and the Welshman out to the right.
Foyth and Carvajal in the book, the former for protesting, the latter for kicking the ball into Lo Celso's face from a meter away.
Madrid are under the coash now as Villarreal move the ball around the edge of the area. Carvajal could be a bit of trouble here as Lo Celso goes down with what looked like a boot in the face.
It's been a bit scarppy in the last few minutes, lots of niggly fouls and not much flow to the play of either side.
Danjuma! Villarreal work a glorious move, built on some wonderful control by Pedraza on the left, and the Netherlands international beats Courtois but not the woodwork!
A measure of Madrid's disjointed attack so far: Bale, playing as a false nine, has yet to touch the ball.
Albiol is very lucky not to be pulled up for a little elbow on Vinicius as the Brazilian was attempting to run around him in the area. It looked like the former Madrid defender knew exactly what he was doing.
It's low and easy to deal with and Villarreal break but the flag is up.
Free kick to Madrid out on the left as Foyth goes through the back of Vinicius. Asensio lining this one up.
Vinicius fancies his chances from distance but drags his effort wide. Madrid not really creating much in attack at the moment.
Madrid manage to get out of their own half briefly but Carvajal sends a cross straight into the gloves of Rulli.
Samu Chukwueze! What a run from the winger, who glides through three Madrid defenders and tees the ball up at the near post. That deserved a finish but there were no yellow shirts there.
Villarreal try a trianing ground routine and it's a good one but the second ball leaves Danjuma with too much to do. Madrid are a bit shaky at the back though and Courtois is forced to put his laces through a loose ball.
The home side win a corner as Militao leathers a loose ball into the second tier of the stadium. First of the game...
Pedraza goes on a lightning run on the Villarreal left and feeds Moreno, but Madrid close ranks to concede a throw.
We're off! Villarreal get the game underway in La Cerámica.
Villarreal have the highest scoring rate at home in LaLiga, Real Madrid the highest on the road. There should be a few goals in this one today.
And Real Madrid's starting line-up.
- 3Eder Militao
- 2Dani Carvajal
- 15Federico Valverde
- 11Marco Asensio
- 20Vinicius Junior
Confirmation of today's line-ups, the home side first...
- 8Juan Foyth
- 4Pau Torres
- 24Alfonso Pedraza
- 17Giovani Lo Celso
- 15Arnaut Danjuma
- 18Alberto Moreno
Bale comes full circle in Villarreal
The Welshman made his Real Madrid debut in El Madrigal in 2013 (having missed the opening game of the season against Athletic with a foot problem) and scored in a 2-2 draw. He's priced at 8/1 to find the net first today...
Bale actually started the first three games of the season before injury issues took hold again, scoring in the second Liga game of the season and genrally playing well. It will be very interesting to see how he performs today after five months without a game for Madrid.
Villarreal starting XI confirmed
No Gerard Moreno for the Submarine and Alcácer is on the bench so Danjuma and Chukwueze will be tasked with causing Madrid's back line some problems. New signing Giovani Lo Celso gets the nod in midfield.
"My personal relationship with him is very good, he is committed. But it's one thing what you see out on the training pitch and another in matches. He seems ready to play to me. When I do decide to play him, he will deliver. Some people might ask me why I don't play him more often... And I understand that. But during the last 15 days he's been training with more intensity. He's ready."
Paco Alcácer is another option for Emery if Moreno fails to make the starting XI, the Spain striker having come off with a muscle injury in the victory over Betis. The former Valencia, Barça and Dortmund striker has not featured much this season with just 13 appearances but he has four goals and five assists for the Submarine and tends to rise to the occasion against the big guns.
Emery's Real Madrid record
There was a time when Unai Emery was widely expected to take charge of Real Madrid, when the Basque schemer was performing (largely thankless) wonders with Valencia. Today, he'll be looking to improve his record against Madrid again after holding them to a 0-0 draw in the Bernabéu earlier in the season. Overall, Emery's tally stands at five wins and three draws from 25 games
Emery to go all guns?
Oddly, as far as we can tell, Villarreal didn't publish a squad list for the game today but assuming Gerard Moreno, Samuel Chukwueze and Arnaut Danjuma are all fit, we could be in for a real ding-dong at the business end of the pitch.
Hazard is unlikely to be very amused by the Italian's decision, and neither will Isco, who played well against Granada nominally in the middle of the front three.
We assume Bale will play on the left with Vinicius through the centre and Asensio on the right, but the Welshman could also be deployed as a striker. In any case, today's game just got very interesting!
Gareth Bale starts for Madrid against Villarreal
Carlo Ancelotti has made little secret of his admiration for Gareth Bale, who helped the Italian to a Copa del Rey and a Champions League in his first season at the club in 2013-14, and it's a big decision from the Madrid boss to play the Welshman today ahead of Eden Hazard. Bale has only managed three appearances this season, the most recent of which was on 28 August.
Real Madrid starting XI confirmed
Carlo Ancelotti has got his team sheet out early and in the absence of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale comes into the front three alongside Vinicius and Marco Asensio. Marcelo also starts for a second consecutive game with Ferland Mendy out while Fede Valverde, who helped turn the game against Granada last weekend, comes in for Luka Modric.
Villarreal, meanwhile, occupy sixth and are out of Copa contention, leaving the Champions League as their main target this season, a competition last season’s Europa League winners can qualify for via two routes. The Submarine play Juventus in the last 16 and the visit of Madrid is exactly the sort of game Unai Emery would have wanted to test the water before taking on the Serie A giants.
The visitors will be seeking to restore their lead over Sevilla - who beat Elche last night - to six points in the Cerámica, a stadium where they have not won since 2017. Since then, there have been four draws in this fixture at the home of the Yellow Submarine: 2-2, 2-2, 2-2, and 1-1.
Villarreal vs Real Madrid: welcome
Hello and welcome to AS USA's live coverage of the LaLiga game between Villarreal and Real Madrid from the Estadio de la Cerámica. Kick-off today is at 10.15 ET (16.15 local time).