Villarreal outgun Real Madrid 3-2

Sports Desk, Apr 8 (EFE).- Villarreal moved up to fifth place in LaLiga Saturday with a 3-2 away win over defending champions Real Madrid.

Samu Chukwueze had a brace as the Yellow Submarine completed its first-ever league double against the Blancos, who will find themselves 15 points out of first if leaders Barcelona beat Girona on Monday.

Villarreal improved to 47 points, 4 behind Real Sociedad and just 2 more than Real Betis, who host 15th-place Cadiz on Sunday.

With the LaLiga title effectively out of reach, Real Madrid’s focus is on the Copa del Rey – they will face Osasuna in the May 6 final – and on repeating as Champions League winners.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal against Chelsea, coach Carlo Ancelotti made six changes to the starting 11 who thrashed Barcelona in the Copa semifinal.

The hosts started brightly and went ahead in the 16th minute thanks to an own goal by Villarreal defender Pau Torres, who inadvertently redirected a ball from Marco Asensio past Pepe Reina.

The veteran keeper was tested twice in quick succession in the 19th minute by Karim Benzema and Rodrygo. At the other end, Alex Baena forced a stop from Thibaut Courtois near the half-hour mark.

Villarreal’s ambition was rewarded in the 39th minute with Chukwueze’s equalizer and Courtois had to be sharp to stop Juan Foyth putting the visitors on top in the dying seconds of the first half.

Vinicius Jr. reclaimed the advantage for the hosts early in the second half, scoring from close range after slicing through the Villarreal defense.

Vini had a chance to extend the lead in the 53rd minute, but missed the target, while Aissa Mandi’s goal for Villarreal five minutes later was ruled out for offside.

Another Vini effort was deflected wide by Foyth in the 63rd, seven minutes before Jose Luis Morales brought Villarreal level with a goal that was confirmed by VAR after being disallowed by the referee.

Reina stopped an Asensio strike in the 77th and Chukwueze made it 3-2 for the away side three minutes later.

The referee pointed to the spot in the 82nd minute after the ball struck Mandi’s arm in the box, but the penalty was withdrawn after a VAR review.

Rodrygo’s potential equalizer in the 86th was deflected wide of the post and Villarreal walked away with all 3 points. EFE rmm/dr

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