Villarreal piled a vigour on under-fire Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane as they snatched a 1-0 win over a struggling La Liga champions during a Bernabéu.
Real reached a quarter-finals of a Copa del Rey – where they will face Leganes – in midweek, though started a day 16 points behind rivals Barcelona in a league.
That large opening stays in tact after a high finish from Pablo Fornals finished off an 87th-minute counterattack from a Yellow Submarine, who had goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to appreciate for a series of critical saves.
The visitors threatened to mangle a deadlock after 11 minutes, when Samu Castillejo attempted to find Carlos Bacca with a accurate pass, usually for Raphaël Varane to review a risk and furnish a critical interception.
That stirred a enlarged spell of vigour from Real, who suspicion they had non-stop a scoring when Cristiano Ronaldo headed Toni Kroos’s dilemma to Gareth Bale to curtsy home from tighten range, usually for a Welshman to be rightly flagged offside.
Marcelo’s howling left-footed expostulate from 30 yards out afterwards drew a shining save from Asenjo, who was shortly called into movement again to tip a swerving free-kick from Ronaldo on to a crossbar.
Villarreal still looked dangerous on their singular forays into a antithesis half and Nacho did good to repudiate Bacca a purify shot on aim with a well-timed block.
But Real were discerning to respond in an interesting competition and Luka Modric set Ronaldo transparent on a right-hand side of a area, usually for a Portuguese star to lift a round over a onrushing Asenjo and far-reaching of a distant post.
Ronaldo afterwards saw his close-range shot brilliantly saved by Asenjo in a final movement of a initial half, with Mario Gaspar maybe advantageous not to concur a chastisement for writing Ronaldo as he raced on to Isco’s low cross.
Villarreal started a second half brightly, with half-time surrogate Denis Cheryshev banishment far-reaching on 47 minutes, after holding advantage of some wavering defending, before Kroos volleyed true during Asenjo during a other end.
Modric also forced Asenjo into a slight save before a former Tottenham actor blazed over a bar from 15 yards out with 10 mins remaining.
The home side were done to compensate for such open-handedness when Villarreal grabbed a leader on a counterattack after clearing a bad Real corner.
Cheryshev pennyless transparent down a left and found Enes Ünal in a centre of a chastisement area, and nonetheless his shot was blocked by a onrushing Keylor Navas, it rebounded to Fornals to chip a first-time shot over a goalkeeper.