On a night when Real Madrid needed a win to return to the top of the La Liga table after Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid earlier in the day, Real Madrid decided to do it the hard way as they fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, however it wasn’t without controversy.
Villarreal took the lead early in the second half through Manu Trigueros who hit a half-volley into the ground after the ball fell to him kindly as Real Madrid failed to clear the ball.
It came just minutes after Real Madrid went close to opening the scoring themselves through Karim Benzema after he was picked out by Gareth Bale making his first start after returning from injury, but his shot was hit tamely straight at the Villarreal goalkeeper, Andres Fernandez.
Things got worse for Real Madrid six minutes later when Villarreal doubled their lead thanks to a lovely strike by Cedric Bakambu to put Real Madrid 2-0 down away from home against the team with the best defence in La Liga, and when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post on the hour mark it was looking like it might not be their night.
However just three minutes later the Real Madrid fight back begun in proper when Bale pulled one back after getting his head on the end of a great cross by Dani Carvajal.
Ronaldo then pulled Real Madrid level ten minutes later equalising from a controversial penalty that looks to be very very harsh. Bruno was judged to have handled the ball inside his own penalty area after Toni Kroos struck the ball where it hit the boot of a Villarreal player, causing it to bounce up and hit him on the hand from such a close range than he was unable to react or move his arm out-of-the-way in time.
While the decision may have been harsh Ronaldo made sure not to waste the opportunity, he took his shot with such power that it didn’t matter that Fernandez went the right and looked to get his fingertips to it, there was no stopping it. This after Ronaldo had to wait a couple of minutes to take his penalty after a small row broke out on the Villarreal bench about the award of the penalty.
Then with less than ten minutes to go Alvaro Morata, introduced as a substitute five minutes earlier, fired Real Madrid into the lead and back to the top of La Liga after getting his head on to the end of a Marcelo cross. Fernandez could have and should have done much better at keeping it out.
There was one last chance for Real Madrid in injury time that fell to Morata, who was just a few yards out but couldn’t get his effort on target. It was a shocking miss but luckily one that didn’t prove costly.
In the end it was a good comeback from Real Madrid and an important one considering what had happened earlier in the day with Barcelona moving above them in the La Liga table after their 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid and after what happened to them midweek when they lost to Valencia, falling behind 2-0 and failing to recover.