Match ends, Real Madrid 4, Villarreal 1.
Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal: Jude Bellingham header helps host return to top of La Liga17 December 2023
Jude Bellingham continued his fine goalscoring form as Real Madrid beat Villarreal to return to the top of La Liga.
The England midfielder headed in a superb cross from Luka Modric to claim his 13th league goal of the season and put Real ahead in the 25th minute.
Rodrygo added a second for Real after an offside decision was overturned by a Video Assistant Referee (VAR), but Jose Luis Morales halved the deficit after the break.
However, Villarreal's hopes were short-lived as Brahim Diaz and Modric scored within four minutes of each other in the second half to seal the three points.
Carlo Ancelotti's side were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis and replaced at the top of the table last weekend by Girona, who beat Barcelona 4-2.
But Girona, playing only their fourth-ever top-flight season, can leapfrog Real Madrid again if they beat Alaves on Monday.
Fresh from topping their Champions League group with a 100% record, Real piled the pressure on a Villarreal side determined to play out from the back.
Bellingham missed a chance to give the hosts an early opener, but he didn't have to wait long to make amends, heading home a superb chipped cross from Modric, who had clipped the crossbar moments earlier.
The former Birmingham City midfielder has now scored 17 goals in 20 appearances since his 103m euros (£88m) move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
After Rodrygo's close-range finish was allowed to stand, Villarreal pounced with their first chance of the second half as Morales held off pressure from Nacho and Antonio Rudiger to slot past keeper Andriy Lunin in the 54th minute.
However, Diaz danced through the Villarreal defence and unleashed a low strike to re-establish Real's lead in the 64th minute before Modric latched on to a loose ball to claim the fourth goal.
It was not all good news for Los Blancos, though, as full-back David Alaba limped off the pitch in the first half with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
- 4AlabaSubstituted forNachoat 35'minutes
- 23MendySubstituted forGarcíaat 45'minutes
- 8KroosSubstituted forTchouaméniat 79'minutesBooked at 83mins
- 5BellinghamBooked at 67minsSubstituted forCeballosat 78'minutes
- 21DíazSubstituted forJoseluat 84'minutes
- 25Arrizabalaga Revuelta
- 36Tobias da Silva
- 39de Luis
- 26AltiBooked at 67mins
- 3AlbiolSubstituted forCuencaat 45'minutes
- 27AkhomachBooked at 74minsSubstituted forTriguerosat 74'minutes
- 6CapoueBooked at 85mins
- 16BaenaSubstituted forTerratsat 29'minutes
- 7MorenoSubstituted forSørlothat 45'minutes
- 15MoralesSubstituted forBreretonat 79'minutes
- Jorge Figueroa Vázquez
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 4, Villarreal 1.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67744909?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA