Madrid, Sep 25 (EFE).- The potent Real Madrid attack that put up 13 goals in their last three league games into a brick wall here Saturday in the form of a Villarreal side who kept a clean sheet and could have grabbed all 3 points if not for Blancos goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Real Madrid remain atop LaLiga with 17 points, 3 better than Sevilla and defending champions Atletico Madrid. Villarreal are 10th on 8 points.
Villarreal coach Unai Emery came into the match having taken points at the Santiago Bernabeu only once in a managerial career that is now in its 17th season.
But the plan he devised for Saturday’s contest showed that Emery learned plenty from those defeats.
Accustomed to dominating possession, the Blancos found themselves struggling to wrest the ball away from the visitors, who looked much the more threatening side in the first half.
Arnaut Danjuma forced Courtois into action in the 13th minute and the Belgian was called on again just past the half-hour to stop a shot by Paco Alcacer.
The hosts thought they were entitled to a penalty a few minutes later when Raul Albiol stepped into the onrushing Nacho in the area, but the referee waved it off.
Carlo Ancelotti made some tactical adjustments at the break and Real Madrid were better in the second half. Even so, their first shot on target came only in the 82nd minute, a header by late sub Isco Alarcon.
Summer signing Eduardo Camavinga tried his luck on an overhead kick two minutes later, but Villarreal keeper Gero Rulli dealt with it easily.
At the other end, Nacho made a great tackle on Ruben Peña with four minutes left in regulation to prevent what looked like a sure goal for the visitors. EFE rmm/dr