Real Madrid’s struggles continue with home loss to Villarreal
MADRID — Another poor result, another round of jeers for Real Madrid.
Madrid’s struggles in the Spanish league continued when it lost to Villarreal 1-0 on Saturday, infuriating fans at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and increasing pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane.
Pablo Fornals netted Villarreal’s winner in the 87th minute, prompting loud boos by the home crowd which three days ago saw their team draw with second-division club Numancia 2-2 in the Copa del Rey.
Madrid also drew at Celta Vigo 2-2 a week ago, and lost to Barcelona 3-0 at the Bernabeu in its last match last year. It has gone four matches without a win.
Saturday’s result left the defending champion 16 points behind league leader Barcelona, which can increase the gap when it plays at Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Madrid, which has a game in hand, is only fourth in the standings, behind Valencia and Atletico Madrid.
Villarreal moved to fifth place.
The host had most of the chances under steady rain, but Villarreal also threatened a few times before Fornals found the net.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also jeered, hit the crossbar from a free kick in the first half after the ball deflected off the wall.
Ronaldo later also missed from inside the area, just moments after Villarreal’s Carlos Bacca came close to scoring on a one-on-one at the other end.
Ronaldo nearly scored from close range just before halftime, but his shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo in a play in which the forward claimed to be pushed before he hit the ball.
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