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Depleted Real Madrid held at Villarreal





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VILLARREAL, Spain, Nov 21, (AP): Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave away a penalty as a Real Madrid side missing several players drew 1-1 with Villarreal in the Spanish league on Saturday. In only his second appearance of the season, striker Mariano Díaz scored a goal three minutes after kickoff in a promising start for Madrid at Villarreal’s Estadio de la Cerámica. But Spain striker Gerard Moreno leveled from the penalty spot in the 76th after Courtois cut down Samuel Chukwueze while trying to reach the ball. Unai Emery’s Villarreal remained unbeaten in all competitions at home this campaign.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Real Madrid at Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain on Nov 21. (AP)

The draw left them in second place, one point behind leaders Real Sociedad who play at Cádiz on Sunday. The slip by Madrid came a round after they were beaten 4-1 at Valencia, when Courtois was unable to stop three penalties. Zinedine Zidane’s side stayed in fourth place. Madrid were missing Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde due to injury. Casemiro, Éder Militão and Luka Jovic were unavailable after testing positive for the coronavirus. “We were missing very important players, but that can’t be an excuse.

We have a deep enough squad to compete in every game,” said defender Nacho Fernández, who started in place of Ramos. Despite the absences and having to play the little-used Díaz up front, Zidane still had a starting 11 containing Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane and Eden Hazard, who returned after one round out with a coronavirus infection.

Also back was Dani Carvajal in his first match since injuring his right knee in September. The right back placed a short cross for Díaz to head home after he held off his marker. Madrid controlled the rest of the first half, but the hosts improved after the restart and pushed the action into Courtois’ area. After Dani Parejo and Moreno had both gone close with shots, Emery sent on Chukwueze and Pervis Estupiñán.

The reinforcements linked up to produce the equalizer when Estupiñán sent a long ball into the box to meet Chukwueze’s run, and Courtois rushed out and swept him off his feet. Madrid finished the match defending their point.

“We worked hard, got our goal, and had the feeling that we could have gotten a better result,” Moreno said. Osasuna came from behind to draw with Huesca 1-1 keeping the visitors winless since their return to the Spanish league. Huesca dominated early at El Sadar Stadium. Sandro Ramirez finished off a poor clearance by Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

After not creating any scoring chances in the first half, Osasuna improved with substitutes made at the restart. Defender David García equalized in the 68th when he headed in a set-piece. Huesca have drawn seven and lost three games since returning to the top flight after one season in the second division. The point lifted them from last place to out of the relegation zone in 17th place. “We were not able to play our game, but it was always positive to get a point, especially at a tough ground like this,” Ramirez said. “Victory still eludes us, but I think if we keep doing things well it will come.” Osauna are in 10th place after a third consecutive round without a win







Source: Alanbaa

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