Real Madrid come from behind to beat Villarreal
Real Madrid, who finished with nine men
following the dismissals of Zinedine Zidane and Walter Samuel, fought
back from a goal down to beat Villarreal 2-1 at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Second-placed Real moved up to 69 points, three behind Barcelona who
travel south to play Malaga on Sunday. Champions League-chasing
Villarreal are third on 52 points with a game in hand on Real.
Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme put Villarreal in front from
the penalty spot before the break but Real recovered in the second half.
Ronaldo headed the equaliser on 70 minutes before turning provider for
defender Michel Salgado to fire the winner four minutes later.
Real were reduced to 10 men after 72 minutes when Argentina defender
Samuel received his second yellow card. The home team then lost Zidane
to a straight red in stoppage time.
Villarreal defender Quique Alvarez received his marching orders at the
same time after scuffling with Zidane.
Earlier, Osasuna overcame Atletico Madrid 1-0 to record their second
victory in four days over the capital club and all but secure their
Primera Liga place.
The Navarrans, who beat Atletico by the same scoreline in Wednesday's
King's Cup semi-final first leg, scored through John Aloisi after four
minutes and survived the dismissal of defender Carlos Cuellar eight
minutes from time.
Villarreal controlled possession early on and pressed Real back into
their own half.
Real rallied and England captain David Beckham, playing on the right
while Luis Figo started on the bench for the third consecutive game, had
the best chance of the first half in the 28th minute.
Beckham played a one-two with Ronaldo on the edge of the area but fired
a low drive wide of the far post.
Villarreal took the lead after a swift counter-attack in the 39th minute.
Attacking midfielder Riquelme released former Manchester United striker
Diego Forlan and he was brought down by Francisco Pavon.
Riquelme gave Iker Casillas no chance from the penalty spot.
Samuel missed a free header soon after the restart before Riquelme
sprung the offside trap at the other end. He had only Casillas to beat
but squared to Forlan who fired into the side-netting.
Villarreal were punished for that glaring miss when Zidane took on three
defenders and crossed to the far post for Ronaldo to head the equaliser.
Ronaldo followed up by creating the second goal for Salgado, who shot
first time past Villarreal keeper Pepe Reina.