Real Madrid failed to defeat Villarreal at La Ceramica for the fourth time in a row on Saturday, as they played out an exciting 1-1 draw which both teams could have won. Los Blancos remain in fourth place in the La Liga table, while the Yellow Submarine missed out on a chance to go top.
Real Madrid got off to a storming start, as Mariano Diaz put them ahead with a wonderfully guided header from a Dani Carvajal cross just two minutes in. The rest of the half petered out, with that goal coming from the only shot on target in the first 45 minutes. Dani Parejo did come close for Villarreal with a header, but his effort flew over the crossbar.
Villarreal looked threatening in the second half, with Gerard Moreno and Dani Parejo spurning good chances. They were finally rewarded in the 76th minute, as Thibaut Courtois brought down the onrushing Samu Chukwueze to concede a penalty. Moreno calmly converted the spot-kick to make it 1-1.
Takefusa Kubo had a late chance to haunt his parent club, but the Japanese youngster saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Nacho after beating Courtois. Shortly after, the game ended on level terms.
On that note, here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Mariano Diaz shines for Real Madrid
Mariano Diaz had played a total of 98 minutes for Real Madrid in the last 15 months. However, with Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic both injured, he answered Zinedine Zidane's call with a fine performance.
The Dominican continued his run of scoring right from the off, taking only 105 seconds to score the sixth La Liga goal of his career. Three of those have come against the Yellow Submarine.
Mariano was full of running throughout the game, with plenty of direct running and classic centre-forward play that appeared miles better than anything Luka Jovic has managed in a Los Blancos shirt.
It's surely a big question that Zinedine Zidane has to face, especially given the fixture congestion - Mariano ought to get more starts soon enough.
#4 Gerard Moreno turns in a man-of-the-match performance
No player has scored more La Liga goals since football resumed after lockdown than Gerard Moreno. The Spaniard grabbed his 12th goal since June against Real Madrid.
Moreno offers Villareal so much more than goals though, and he produced some wonderful passes to create multiple chances for Unai Emery's side on Saturday.
There was little doubt that the ice-cold Moreno would score when he stepped up to take the penalty, which he converted with aplomb.
In fact, one could make the argument that the Spaniard would have been disappointed tonight. He missed a couple of presentable chances that could have ended with him scoring a hat-trick.