More jeers for Real Madrid after home loss to Villarreal

 13 Jan 2018 - 21:26

More jeers for Real Madrid after home loss to Villarreal
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts as Villarreal's Alvaro Gonzalez looks on. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

By Tales Azzoni / AP

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.

"There is no explanation for this," Zidane said. "We did everything we could, we had plenty of chances, but the ball just didn't go in. It's a difficult moment for us. It's tough for the players, they gave their best. We didn't deserve this result."

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.

"We have endured negative results recently, but we know that we can change this situation by winning again," Zidane said. "We have to start winning, and winning convincingly, then things will change."

The defending champion was 16 points behind league leader Barcelona at the competition's halfway point. The Catalan club 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 with the victory, its first ever at the Bernabeu.

"We knew we could make history," Villarreal coach Javier Calleja said. "We played a very smart match."

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 nearly scored from close range just before halftime, but his shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

Gareth Bale had a goal disallowed for offside early in the first half.

Luka Modric had one of Madrid's best chances in the second half with a shot from inside the area that missed over the crossbar.

Former Madrid forward Denis Cheryshev came close with a shot for Villarreal after halftime, and Fornals didn't miss when he had his chance near the end.

The goal came after a great save by Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas following a counterattack. Fornals picked up the loose ball just outside the area and chipped it over the goalkeeper for the stunning winner.

It was Madrid's third home loss this season. It has won only half of its games at the Bernabeu.

GIRONA ROUT

Kenyan forward Michael Olunga scored a hat trick to lead promoted Girona to a 6-0 trouncing of last-place Las Palmas.

Las Palmas could have left the bottom of the standings with a draw but it never challenged the Catalan host at Montilivi Stadium, seeing its winless streak reach seven matches in all competitions.

Las Palmas has only 11 points from 19 matches.

Christian Stuani opened the scoring for Girona from a penalty kick midway through the first half, and the other five came in a 22-minute span in the second period.

Girona reached ninth place in the 20-team standings.

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