First Division - Day 21

Real Madrid 2 - Villarreal 1

Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Mejía, Raúl Bravo, Roberto Carlos (Juanfran 77'); Beckham, Guti; Figo (Cambiasso 86'), Raúl (Portillo 79'), Solari; Ronaldo. 4-2-3-1.
Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Ballesteros, Arruabarrena; Battaglia (Josico 59'), Pedro Martí; Guayre (Javi Venta 59'), Riquelme (Víctor 59'), José Marí; Sonny Anderson. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Madrid: Mejía, Guti, Solari for Pavón, Iván Helguera, Zidane / Villarreal: José Marí, Sonny Anderson for Javi Venta, Víctor.

1-0. 14. Solari. Picked up short pass from Figo and hit shot under Reina.
2-0. 54. Ronaldo. Collected cross from Guti and fired shot in from edge of area.
2-1. 87. Ballesteros. Header across Casillas from Belletti corner.

Real Madrid threw down another challenge to Valencia with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal. Carlos Queiroz's side moved back to the top of the table for 24 hours at least with their eleventh home win in a row, a game in which they were only really troubled by their opponents in the last twenty minutes or so. The manager gave Solari a spot in the starting line up in place of the injured Zidane, and the Argentine midfielder combined with Figo in the fourteenth minute to drive a low shot under Reina.

Ronaldo added a second ten minutes into the second half with a first time shot from Guti's pass, virtually his first touch of the ball all night, and with Mejía putting in a mature performance in defence, the game appeared to be over. Benito Floro made a triple change though, and Casillas had to save from Belletti before Ballesteros finally beat him with a header from Belletti's corner to set up a nervous last five minutes or so. And the fans breathed a sigh of relief when Ballesteros was booked for diving by referee Medina Cantalejo when he fell in the area in the dying moments.