Former Real Madrid man Roberto Soldado scored the lone goal as Villarreal beat Real Madrid 1 – 0 to deny the Spanish giants the chance to close in on La Liga leading pack of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona stumbled to a 2 – 2 draw earlier on and while Real Madrid was expected to take the chance, they fell to a Soldado goal on the eighth minute of the teams’ clash at the Camp el Madrigal.
After a good start, Cedric Bakambu should have handed the hosts the lead on just the third minute but his shot hit the woodwork.
However, there was no denying the Yellow Submarines five minutes later as Bakambu picked out Soldado with a good pass and all the striker had to do was finish.
Real Madrid, 8 – 0 winners over Malmo heading to the Villarreal clash saw their electric form badly abandon them and should have been two goals down on the 27th minute had Bakambu kept his cool after beating Pepe with pace.
Real Madrid resumed the more attack minded in the second half but lack of sharpness in front of goal saw Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema all miss good chances.
By the time Soldado was withdrawn, on the 83rd minute, three points were all but secured for the hosts who stay fifth on the La Liga table with 27 points as Real Madrid, on 30 points are five behind the leading duo.