First Division - Day 7

Real Madrid 1 - Villarreal 1

Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Iván Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Makelele, Cambiasso; McManaman (Solari 65'), Guti (Raúl 58'), Zidane; Ronaldo (Morientes 70'). 4-2-3-1.
Villarreal: Reina; Quique Alvarez (Rubén Reyes 75'), Ballesteros, Berruet, Arruabarrena; Belletti, Marcos Senna, Quique Medina, Jorge López (Guayre 70'); Víctor (Gracia 89'), Palermo. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Madrid: No change / Villarreal: Reina, Berruet, Quique Medina for López Vallejo, Unai, Josico.

1-0. 23. Zidane. Picked up Makelele pass and fired shot in off crossbar.
1-1. 45. Jorge López (penalty). After López himself pushed over by Makelele.

Real Madrid were held at home to a 1-1 draw by Villarreal to round off a poor week for them. With Figo still out injured and Raúl not considered fit enough to play the full match it was left to Zidane to make the play, and the French star didn't disappoint with a cracking goal midway through the first half after picking up a pass from Makelele. However Villarreal were not daunted by their opponents, and other than that they kept tabs on Ronaldo and company, forcing them in the end to try long shots at Reina in the absence of any other option.

Roberto Carlos did test the young keeper, first of all with a shot which went just wide and then a free kick which was gathered with relative ease. But Benito Floro had organised his side well on his return to the ground where he had had a brief spell as manager, and just before half time they levelled the scores after Makelele brought down Jorge López as he cut into the area. López himself stepped up to beat Casillas from the spot, much to the dismay of the home fans who were still smarting after their midweek draw against AEK Athens.

Del Bosque decided he had to bring on Raúl soon after the break, but shied away from replacing Ronaldo, who did not appear to be fully match fit. The Brazilian striker did however have one long shot on target which Reina dealt with capably a few minutes afterwards, but was eventually replaced by Morientes twenty minutes from the end. The substitution virtually ensured that the Spanish international stays to the end of the season as he cannot now move to a Spanish side having made five appearances.

Even the introduction of Raúl, Morientes and also Solari had little effect this time though, and Casillas was forced into a reaction save with his feet as Palermo headed goalwards. It was only during injury time that Madrid could have won it, a wickedly curling free kick from Roberto Carlos being tipped by Reina onto the post and away. That would have been unfair to the visitors though, and they take a point off the European Champions for the first time in their history at the seventh time of trying. Real Madrid have only won one of their last six games, and although they have been unbeaten at home for almost two years, the press are already talking of a crisis. A victory against Roma next Wednesday though would do them a lot of good. Hopefully Raúl and Figo will be fit.