Real Madrid's La Liga winning streak ends in 1-1 draw with Villarreal
Madrid, Sep 22 (IANS) Villarreal scored first and held on for a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid to snap the Spanish football giants' 16-match winning streak in La Liga.
The result left Madrid tied with the 2010-11 FC Barcelona squad for most consecutive La Liga wins, reports Efe.
Real Madrid dominated from the onset and throughout the second half of the match here on Wednesday, but its inability to capitalise on six corner kicks in 10 minutes in the first half and several other opportunities proved costly.
Star strikers Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are also still trying to find their groove after recovering from hip and knee injuries, respectively, and were not in top form at Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Villarreal still needed some luck and got it when defender Raphael Varane's botched step over left the ball at the feet of Manu Trigueros, whose shot from close range struck Sergio Ramos' arm in the 45th minute.
The referee awarded a penalty, which Bruno Soriano converted in style by chipping the ball into the middle of the goal as goalkeeper Kiko Casilla dived to the left.
Real Madrid got the equaliser just four minutes into the second half through a header by Ramos.
Madrid then went all-out for the win over the final 40 minutes, with Dani Carvajal creating pressure down the right side and James Rodriguez sending in threatening crosses from the left.
But to no avail as they had to settle for a draw that ended their La Liga winning streak at 16 games. They are however still at the top of the table with 13 points after five matches.
"These are mistakes that can happen in football," Zidane said afterward of Varane's defensive blunder.
"We didn't draw because of the error we made defensively, but more because of the first half as a whole. We were less engaged at the start, because the second half was phenomenal."
"You can't always get the three points at the last minute. We weren't strong enough in the first half. In the second, we had chances and I can't blame my players for anything. I'm pleased with what we're doing. We're not going to talk anymore about the record," he added.
With the draw, Villarreal is now in the sixth place with nine points.