Real Madrid suffered a severe setback in the championship race. With national player Antonio Rüdiger and world champion Toni Kroos in the starting XI, the royal team lost 2-1 (0-0) at Villarreal and missed the temporary leap to the top of the La Liga table.
Villarreal, who celebrated their third straight league success and underscored their ambitions in the fight for Champions League places, dominated the first half without finding success. Shortly after the break, however, Yeremi Pino finally punished a major mistake by Ferland Mendy and gave the hosts the lead (47th).
Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema hit back with a hand penalty (60′), but a little later Gerard Moreno also used a hand penalty to score the winning goal (63′). Ex-Munich David Alaba had previously slipped and caused the penalty in a strange way.
Real’s mistake gives table leaders FC Barcelona the chance to draw three points away in Sunday’s top game at Atletico Madrid (9 p.m. / DAZN).