Real Madrid held 1-1 by Villarreal, fail to establish new record

Spanish leaders Real Madrid were held 1-1 at home by defiant Villarreal on Wednesday as they failed to score a record 17th straight victory in La Liga.

After 16 wins, the Whites failed to better the mark of Barcelona from 2011, kept at bay by a solid Villarreal defence.

"It would have been great to have established a new record, but it's not easy to always win," Real right-back Dani Carvajal said.

"This wasn't our best performance of the season, but even so we could have won it at the end."

Veteran captain Bruno Soriano gave Villarreal the lead from a chipped penalty just before half-time, after a handball by Real defender Sergio Ramos.

Ramos made amends by heading in a corner from James Rodriguez three minutes after the restart, but Villarreal managed to hold out for the draw without too many scares.

"I think a draw is a fair result, on the balance. Both sides played well and created good chances," Villarreal's Soriano said.

Real are two points above second-placed Sevilla, who edged neighbours Real Betis 1-0 on Tuesday.

The Whites have 13 points from five games, Sevilla have 11. Then come Barcelona, Las Palmas on Villarreal and Atletico Madrid on eight.

Real went into the game with star strikers Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale restored to fitness, but looked surprisingly sluggish and flat in attack.

Villarreal finally came out of their defensive shell and were rewarded with the penalty, which Soriano calmly transformed in Antonin Panenka 1976 style.

Real dominated the second half with their habitual power football, banging in centres for Ronaldo, Bale, Alvaro Morata and Ramos.

Ramos' equalizer seemed to be the prelude for yet another Real comeback - as against Sporting Gijon a week ago - but they lost left-back Marcelo to injury and failed to break down the well-ordered Villarreal defence for a second time.

Also Wednesday, Celta Vigo scored their first win, 2-1 at home to Sporting Gijon on goals from Hugo Mallo and Iago Aspas.

"It was about time that we finally won a game," Celta's Aspas said.

"Once again, we were too anxious tonight...But I think we just about deserved this, after all the hard work we put into the game."

Barca were to host Atletico and Las Palmas were to visit Real Sociedad later in the day, while Granada were to face Athletic Bilbao.

Last update: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 23:17
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