London, Feb 27 (IANS) Real Madrid had to dig deep in the 24th week of Spanish First Division soccer action to come up with its 3-2 road win over Villarreal, battling back from a two-point disadvantage during the second period.
After a first period and early in the second, when Villarreal was clearly dominant, racking up two goals and holding Madrid scoreless, Zinedine Zidane’s boys upped the intensity in the last half hour of play before 21,400 spectators at the Ceramica Stadium to find the twine three times, enabling them to remain at the top of Spain’s La Liga.
Despite solid play before the break, Villarreal didn’t manage to get on the board until the 50th minute, however, when Manu Trigueros finally got one into the net on a bouncing shot, Efe news agency reported.
Then, just six minutes later, it was Bruno Soriano who fired a great through shot to Cedric Bakambu, who tapped it in to score for 6th-place home team, putting them ahead by two and seemingly setting the tone for the match.
But that was when Real Madrid got themselves together to stage an ever more effective counterattack, with Cristiano Ronaldo firing a shot-on-goal that just barely missed, ricocheting off the post.
And, in the 64th minute, Isco located Gareth Bale and fired a crossing shot over to end in an easy header that finally got the visitors on the board.
Then, Toni Kroos blasted a powerful shot-on-goal that was blocked in the 72nd minute, hitting Bruno in the arm, which the official spotted for a penalty kick – although Villarreal coach Fran Escriba was ejected for expressing his outrage over the call.
Ronaldo made the score two minutes later, tying the match up, and Real Madrid continued capitalising on its momentum, with Alvaro Morata knocking in the winning header in the 83rd minute after coming in to replace Benzema.