|First Division - Day 10|
Villarreal 2 - Real Madrid 3
López Vallejo; Xavi Roca (Galván 30'), Quique Alvarez, Unai,
Arruabarrena; Jorge López, Galca, Calleja; Víctor (Quique
Martín 80'); Palermo, Guayre (Cagna 67'). 4-3-1-2.
Team changes: Villarreal: Xavi Roca, Unai for Galván, Berruet / Madrid: Iván Helguera, Raúl Bravo, Celades, Morientes for Roberto Carlos, Hierro, Makelele, Guti.
Two goals in the last six minutes of this match saved Real Madrid from their worst ever start at this stage of the season. Vicente Del Bosque had to cobble together a makeshift defence, with Hierro and Makelele suspended, Iván Campo still suffering from depression and Roberto Carlos injured, and Pavón and Raúl Bravo were once again called upon. Iván Helguera had recovered from his broken toe though, and came in to the side together with Celades and Morientes.
Villarreal have never won against Real Madrid, but they got off to a good start when Palermo chased down a sloppy McManaman back pass. Casillas could only clear as far as Víctor, who cleverly lobbed the ball back over his head in to the empty net. Madrid came forward and McManaman got into good positions twice in the first half, but he put the first over the bar and López Vallejo saved the second. Then with just over an hour gone, referee Iturralde González awarded a controversial penalty for a push by Arruabarrena on Morientes, and Figo converted the spot kick.
The lead only lasted a minute though, as Calleja chipped the ball past a surprised Casillas from the left wing. However Munitis made it all square for a second time with a volley into the roof of the net after Helguera played back a free kick, and with the game coming to an end Raúl headed the winner on the near post from Solari's cross. With several teams close together in the middle of the table, the victory takes Madrid up to tenth in the table, only a point behind Villarreal who stay seventh. Whether the crisis is over or not though depends on next Sunday's game against Barcelona. A win there and Del Bosque can breath easily; any other result and the pressure will be back on.