La Liga 2016/17: Villarreal 2-3 Real Madrid, Player Ratings
A 19-minute turnaround saw Real Madrid reclaim the top spot in the La Liga table with a 3-2 away win over Villarreal. Yesterday, FC Barcelona won a crucial away encounter against Atletico Madrid which added extra pressure on Zidane's men to solidify their dominance at the top. And they did just that with an inspired second half performance against The Yellow Submarines.
Two quick second half goals from Manuel Trigueros and Cedric Bakambu saw the hosts sailing into a 2-0 advantage with half an hour to go. Gareth Bale, who made his first start since November, started a comeback with a brilliant header before Cristiano Ronaldo equalised through a spot kick. Alvaro Morata scored the winner as the second half substitute won all three points for Los Blancos.
Let's take a look at the player ratings from an exciting match between Villarreal and Real Madrid that took place at the El Madrigal:
Sergio Asenjo – 6/10
The Villarreal custodian had to be substituted with an injury in the first half but he did manage to pull off an outstanding save from a Karim Benzema shot before bowing out.
Jaume Costa – 6/10
The full-back started the game nervously but improved as the match proceeded. His attacking output was crucial in Villarreal's both the goals.
Victor Ruiz – 5/10
The centre-back had a quiet first half but struggled when Real Madrid attacked in the second period. He struggled aerially and his positioning sense was also not on point.
Mateo Musacchio – 5.5/10
A brilliant first 60 minutes was balanced out by a number of errors in the last half an hour when the visitors started to dominate.
Mario Gaspar – 6.5/10
Easily Villarreal's best defender on the night, Gaspar was ever present in attack and in defence as he performed his job diligently.
Samuel Castillejo – 7.5/10
The winger caused Marcelo a night to forget as he tormented the Brazilian to great lengths. His directness caused a lot of trouble to Madrid's back line as he cut inside the full-backs very easily.
Manuel Trigueros – 8/10
The midfielder was a commanding character on the pitch and played brilliantly throughout. He was rewarded with a well-taken goal in the second half and he also passed the ball around with great impetus.
Bruno Soriano – 6/10
Soriano turned from hero to villain for his team. His brilliant pass saw Bakambu put Sevilla 2-0 ahead, but his handball – which was very harsh – saw Madrid equalise in the last quarter of the game.
Jonathan Dos Santos – 6.5/10
The Mexican was unlucky not to score a goal as his smart feet combined with his silky skills asked a lot of questions for Madrid's defence.
Adrian Lopez – 7/10
Playing in an unfamiliar position on the left wing, Adrian performed exceedingly well as he put in a great shift and delivered an impactful cross for the first goal.
Cedric Bakambu – 6.5/10
The striker started the game slowly but took his chances rather well when they arrived, as a smart bit of skill saw him scoring Villarreal's second on the night.
Andres Fernandez – 5/10
The backup keeper started decently but could not stop the Real Madrid attacks in the final few minutes. He could have done better for the Morata goal which was evident from his despairing reaction.
Denis Cheryshev – 5.5/10
The winger had a few chances to take on the opposition's full-backs but failed to take full advantage of a sluggish Madrid defence.
Rodrigo Hernandez – 6/10
Hernandez was brought on to calm the proceedings in midfield but he could not stop Real from scoring three goals in 19 minutes.
Keylor Navas – 6/10
Despite conceding two goals in quick succession, Navas never lost his morale and kept Madrid in the game with some fine saves later on.
Marcelo – 5/10
It was a typical Marcelo performance. He was brilliant going forward as he delivered perfect crosses one after another, but he failed to do his primary job as he was found out of position many times and was also beaten easily by Castillejo on a number of occasions.
Sergio Ramos – 6/10
The captain made some errors but largely had to cover for Pepe's mistakes as well. Despite being under pressure, Ramos did a decent job of sorting out his defence when they were under incessant Villarreal pressure.
Pepe – 4.5/10
After an injury to Raphael Varane, Pepe was expected to fill his shoes but he did exactly the opposite as he looked out of sorts in the entire first half. He improved in the second half but Zidane must be worried about his defence with Pepe in the side.
Dani Carvajal – 5/10
Carvajal had one of those rare nights where he struggled against the opponents' wingers as the Villarreal forwards dominated him in the first half. He was back to his usual best after the break and also provided brilliant crosses into the box which troubled the hosts.
Casemiro – 6/10
Casemiro is a crucial cog in Madrid's wheel and he proved that against Villarreal as he made a number of important interceptions in the first 45 minutes when Villarreal were dominating. He was taken off for an attacking player late in the second half.
Toni Kroos – 5.5/10
The German was unable to dictate the tempo of the game as he was pressed brilliantly by Villarreal. A slight improvement was later seen in Kroos as he dropped a little deeper to have more time on the ball.
Luka Modric – 6.5/10
Like the entire team, Modric had a first half to forget as Villarreal completely bossed Madrid's midfield. After pegging one goal back, Modric saw the chink in the hosts' armour and was back at his creative best.
Gareth Bale – 8/10
The Welshman was Madrid's best player on the night as he was duly rewarded with a brilliant header which started his team's comeback.
Karim Benzema – 6.5/10
The Frenchman had a brilliant shot saved in the first half. His aerial threat was very effective throughout the match against the centre back duo of Ruiz and Musacchio.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7/10
Ronaldo was kept silent for the first 65-70 minutes as the Portuguese looked dejected with his team on the back foot. He responded with a well-taken penalty which levelled the matters and then played some crucial passes along the way which completed Madrid's comeback.
Isco – 8/10
The Spaniard was an outstanding substitution by Zinedine Zidane. He brought urgency to a Madrid team which was looking down the barrel after conceding two quick goals. His link up play saw Madrid opening Villarreal's defence at will.
Alvaro Morata – 7.5/10
Morata again scored the winner for his side with a well time header which will not harm his super sub reputation in any way.
Lucas Vazquez – 6.5/10
Vazquez always looks dangerous whenever he is on the ball but did not have much time on his side against Villarreal to do something worth mentioning.