Real Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga was cut to four points over Sevilla as Carlo Ancelotti’s side were held to a 0-0 draw away to Villarreal.
The draw, coupled with Sevilla’s 2-0 win at home to Elche, allowed Sevilla to clip two points off Madrid’s lead, although Real Madrid will be moderately content to have taken a point from an entertaining game on Saturday night, in one of the toughest away trips they have between now and the end of the season.
Gareth Bale was a surprise starter for Madrid after 168 days on the sidelines, and was perhaps their best player in attack, seeing one effort well saved by home keeper Geronimo Rulli, Xinhua reports. Meanwhile, Armaut Danjuma hit the woodwork for Villarreal, while Samuel Chukwueze gave Marcelo a torrid time down the Real Madrid left, meaning Ancelotti will be crossing his fingers that Ferland Mendy is fit for next week’s trip to play Paris Saint-Germain.
Real Madrid were still missing Karim Benzema in attack but improved in the second half, and a moment of magic from Eden Hazard almost gave them three points in injury-time when he set up Luka Jovic, only for the substitute to hit the bar instead of giving his side three points.
Earlier, second-half goals from Papu Gomez on 70 minutes and Rafa Mir five minutes later gave Sevilla a 2-0 win at home to Elche, who had resisted well until the decisive first goal.
Atletico Madrid won a thrilling encounter 4-3 at home to Getafe in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Although Luis Suarez saw an early penalty saved by David Soria, Angel Correa again showed his instinct in front of goal to open the scoring for Atletico, and Mathias Cunha doubled their lead after a move started by Marcos Llorente in the 26th minute.
Borja Mayoral quickly pulled a goal back for Getafe with a far-post finish, before consecutive handballs by Cunha and Lemar allowed Enes Unal to turn the game around with two well-taken penalties.
Angel Correa then showed his instincts again to level the game 3-3 in first-half injury-time, but Atletico suffered a setback in the 57th minute when Felipe was sent off for a studs-up challenge. Nevertheless, Mario Hermoso produced a grandstand finish to give Atletico a vital win.
Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma saved a late penalty from Celta’s Santi Mina to save his side a point in their battle to avoid relegation, although they remain four points from safety.
Osasuna continued their positive run with a 3-0 win away to Rayo Vallecano, thanks to first-half goals Jon Moncayola and Ruben Garcia, with a 90th minute strike to round off the scoring from Kike Garcia.