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Monday, 10 August 2020

Real Madrid throw away lead to draw final league game at Villarreal

Reuters , Saturday 19 May 2018
Real Madrid
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal vs Real Madrid - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - May 19, 2018 Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos in action with Villarreal's Samu Castillejo REUTERS
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Real Madrid suffered a potential confidence jolt ahead of next week's Champions League final against Liverpool as they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Villarreal in their final La Liga game of the season on Saturday.

Gareth Bale continued his bid for a staring berth in the Kiev final by scoring a fourth goal in three league games to fire Real ahead in the 11th minute and Cristiano Ronaldo headed in a cross from Marcelo to make it 2-0.

Zinedine Zidane fielded an almost full-strength team, only leaving out Karim Benzema and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, with the French coach handing a debut to his 20-year-old son Luca Zidane in goal.

Colombian forward Roger Martinez pulled a goal back for fifth-placed Villarreal with 19 minutes remaining and Samuel Castillejo completed the home side's revival by capitalising on a nervous moment from Luca Zidane to knock the ball into an empty net in the 85th minute.

Real ended a disappointing domestic season by finishing third on 76 points, 14 behind champions Barcelona who can increase the gap to 17 if they beat Real Sociedad on Sunday. Second-placed Atletico, on 78, host Eibar.

Real can make amends by winning a 13th European Cup next week if they beat Liverpool and become the first team since 1976 to win the trophy three years in a row.

The point was enough to ensure Villarreal finished fifth in the standings on 61 points, one above sixth-placed Real Betis, who lost 3-2 to Leganes, although both sides were already assured of automatic places in next season's Europa League.

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