First Division - Day 18

Villarreal 0 - Real Madrid 0

Villarreal: Viera; Javi Venta, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Peña, Arruabarrena; Marcos Senna, Sorín (Calleja 46'); Cazorla (Héctor Font 84'), José Marí, Riquelme; Diego Forlán. 4-2-3-1.
Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Sergio Ramos, Woodgate, Roberto Carlos; Iván Helguera (Gravesen 84'); Robinho (Soldado 75'), Baptista, Guti, Zidane; Ronaldo (Cicinho 34'). 4-1-4-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: Javi Venta, Arruabarrena, Sorín, José Marí for Kromkamp, Alcántara, Josico, Guayre / Madrid: Michel Salgado, Woodgate, Baptista, Guti for Diogo, Pavón, Pablo García, Beckham.

Goals: None.

For the second year in a row, the clash between Champions League sides Villarreal and Real Madrid ended in a 0-0 draw. Madrid coach López Caro decided to ring the changes for the new year, switching Sergio Ramos and Helguera and playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Woodgate returning the starting line up after a successful run out in the cup. New signing Cicinho was expected to replace the suspended Beckham on the right of midfield, but the coach finally opted to bring in Baptista and play Robinho out wide, with Ronaldo passing a late fitness test to take the front spot.

The match got off to a lively start, Zidane firing a free kick over the top and Riquelme curling a shot just wide at the other end. With just over half an hour gone though, Ronaldo aggravated his injury and had to leave the field, Cicinho coming on to make his debut and Baptista pushing further forward. Zidane went close again later in the half, but the two sides went in at the break with the scoreboard unmoved.

The chances continued after the restart, Riquelme sending a free kick over the top and Casillas saving from Forlán. Robinho shot wide a couple of times, and Forlán put another chance over the bar after José Marí set him up. López Caro turned to Soldado with a quarter of an hour to go, and the young striker brought a good save out of Viera almost immediately. But in the end the two sides ran out of steam and ended up settling for a point which leaves them both out of the top four, in fifth and sixth place respectively.