Villarreal stun Real Madrid as Chukwueze shines

La Liga

The champions are still 12 points behind league leaders Barcelona, who play Girona on Monday, despite Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze’s two-goal performance.

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Madrid took the lead after Pau Torres’ own goal, but Chukwueze equalized before halftime.

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Vinicius Junior scored a brilliant solo goal, Jose Luis Morales equalized again, and Chukwueze curled in a beautiful winner to basically end Madrid’s chances of reclaiming the title.

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Madrid defender Lucas Vazquez remarked, “The league is complicated, that’s obvious, but we’re alive in two other competitions that we will try to win,”

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With Chelsea’s visit on Wednesday in mind, Carlo Ancelotti made six changes from the 4-0 Clasico hammering of Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinal midweek.

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But, in an effort to end the game quickly, the Italian coach stuck with his attacking trio of Vinicius, Rodrygo, and Karim Benzema.

After an energetic break in which Marco Asensio drove the team forward, Vinicius’ low cross rebounded off Torres and into his own net to give Real Madrid the lead in the 16th minute.

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When Madrid attempted to increase their lead, Villarreal’s seasoned goalkeeper Pepe Reina produced two excellent stops to thwart Benzema and Rodrygo, while Madrid goalie Thibaut Courtois twice stopped Alex Baena from long range.

Chukwueze of Nigeria struck clinically past Courtois late in the first half after some amazing agility had left defender Nacho Fernandez for dead.

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