BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Real Madrid were weakened by injuries and coronavirus infections and lost points in the Spanish league for the second year in a row in a 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Saturday.
Without Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema’s leading goal, Madrid had to secure a point from Zinedine Zidane at El Estadio de la Cerámica.
Madrid got off to a promising start when rarely used striker Mariano Díaz scored a cross from Dani Carvajal three minutes after kick-off.
Madrid controlled the rest of the first half but Unai Emerys Villarreal improved after the restart.
After Dani Parejo and Gerard Moreno both shot close, Emery sent Samuel Chukwueze and Pervis Estupiñán. The reinforcements bonded to level when Estupiñán sent a long ball into the box to hit Chukwueze’s run and Courtois rushed out and swept Chukwueze off his feet. Moreno stepped up to pay the penalty to Courtois in the 76th. to fire.
Villarreal were looking for the winner but had to settle for the point that kept them in second place and remained unbeaten at home this season.
« Drawing with the defending champions can please you, but the way we played made me feel like we could win the game, » said Emery.
Villarreal, who managed without the injured striker Paco Alcácer, are one point behind leaders Real Sociedad, who will play against Cádiz on Sunday.
Madrid missed Ramos, Benzema and Federico Valverde due to injuries. Casemiro, Éder Militão and Luka Jovic were unavailable after testing positive for the coronavirus. But they still had a starting XI including Eden Hazard, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and Zidane used Francisco « Isco » Alarcón and Marco Asensio to replace them.
Madrid, who lost 4-1 in Valencia in the preliminary round before the international break last week, stayed in fourth place with one game.
Two late goals gave Sevilla a 4-2 win over Celta Vigo to dampen coach Eduardo Coudet’s debut.
The football of an attractive first half ended 2-2. Jules Kounde and Youssef En-Nesyri scored a goal for Sevilla, and Celta’s Iago Aspas and Manuel “Nolito” Agudo used Tomas Vaclik’s sloppy goalkeeper to take off two loose balls.
Sergio Escudero’s long-range shot deflected a defender and spun in the 85. Minute over Celta’s keeper Ruben Blanco. Munir El Haddadi scored a fourth goal after his strike also hit a defender to fool Blanco.
Real Madrid C. . F.. . , Sergio Ramos, La Liga, UEFA Champions League
World news – CA – Real Madrid lose points for 2. Round in a row
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