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Key Events

Casemiro
Yellow Card
Jesé
Lucas Vázquez
J. Rodríguez
L. Modrić
Danilo
Assist
L. Modrić
Goal
Rodri Hernández
Trigueros
Isco
T. Kroos
K. Benzema
Assist
Lucas Vázquez
Goal
Léo Baptistão
Adrián
Samu
J. dos Santos
Danilo
Yellow Card
Trigueros
Yellow Card
K. Benzema
Goal
3
2
3
1

Stats

Possession
% %
9
0
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 6 2
Total Passes 692 461

Commentary

FULL TIME! Real Madrid stay in the title hunt with a comfortable 3-0 win over Villarreal at the Bernabeu, with Benzema, Lucas and Modric chipping in with the goals. The visitors only thraetened sporadically, with Zidane's men turning in another professional performance on home soil. That's all that we have time for, we hope to see you again next time.
We're into the first of three minutes of stoppage time.
Only a few minutes remain in the Spanish capital, with the hosts winding down in professional fashion. Rodrigo tries to clip a throughball forward for Baptistao to chase, but the Brazilian substitute is sold short terribly. Real Madrid respond with a counter, but a back-post delivery is hooked to safety by Mario.
Isco drives down the right flank, before feeding Jese to the byline. The substitute tries to fire in a cross, but a deflection takes the ball into the side netting. The resulting corner is taken short, before an eventual cross from Marcelo is missed by Benzema. Moments later, Villarreal had a free-kick attempt, but Denis curled an effort straight at Navas.
Casemiro
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Casemiro picks up the booking, with the Brazilian midfielder diving in late on Rodrigo. He will miss the hosts' next league outing.
Jesé
Lucas Vázquez
Real Madrid
Lucas takes his leave, and a standing ovation, with Jese introduced for the final five minutes at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo tries to jink his way beyond Bailly, but the former Espanyol defender stands firm in the face of the Real Madrid forward once again. Zidane continues to bark out orders from his technical area, with the Frenchman clearly still of the opinion that an extra goal could help things in the title push.
Baptistao is picked out on the edge of the penalty area, but the ex-Atleti striker is outmuscled by Ramos. An eventual throughball is looped into the Real Madrid box, but Navas is quick off his line to smother the danger and ensure that Los Blancos edge towards a clean sheet.
J. Rodríguez
L. Modrić
Real Madrid
James replaces Modric, with the Colombia international able to get a run-out for the final 10 minutes at the Bernabeu.
Narrowly over 10 minutes remain at the Bernabeu, with the home fans finally appearing satisfied. Modric's goal is the icing on the cake, after a fairly commanding and comfortable performance on home soil. More encouragement for Los Blancos.
Ronaldo is forced to leave the field of play briefly, with the Portuguese forward having his shirt ripped in a tangle of bodies in the penalty area.
Danilo
Assist
Real Madrid
As a response to the critics, Danilo drives down the right-hand side, before hanging up an inviting cross from the byline for his Croatian teammate.
L. Modrić
Goal
Real Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! MODRIC MAKES IT 3-0! The ex-Spurs midfielder is picked out by a cut-back from the right-hand side, which lands perfectly into his path just inside the opposition box. Without hesitation, he rifles a low volley into the bottom-right corner and under the despairing dive of Asenjo!
Ronaldo caught offside! The Real Madrid star is picked out by what was a terrible shot from Isco, with the Portuguese forward straying a couple of yards the wrong side of his man. The hosts could well run away with this in the dying stages.
Bailly stands up to Ronaldo, before Benzema drifts infield from the left and into the penalty area. The France international can only see a deflected attempt head wide, but the Villarreal defender goes down in a heap after landing awkwardly.
Rodri Hernández
Trigueros
Villarreal
Trigueros is replaced, possibly due to his earlier booking, with Rodrigo inserted into the action.
Isco
T. Kroos
Real Madrid
Isco comes into the fray for Kroos, with the Spaniard having just under 20 minutes to prove his worth.
The hosts are happy to retain the ball, having gone 2-0 ahead, with Lucas grabbing what is a vital goal for his side's aspirations for the end of the season. Zidane can now look to his bench, which will allow for the French coach to rest a few of his key names.
We're into the final 20 minutes in the Spanish capital, with Real Madrid looking to be well on course to staying in the title running behind Barcelona and Atletico. Villarreal have a huge task ahead of them now, especially given that their strike-force hasn't had a chance between them thus far.
K. Benzema
Assist
Real Madrid
Benzema sets his teammate on his way with a neat pass infield, but Lucas didn't need any help with the rest of his exploits.
Lucas Vázquez
Goal
Real Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! LUCAS MAKES IT TWO! The former Espanyol winger gets into full stride, bursting towards the edge of the penalty area. With both Bailly and Asenjo to beat, the Spaniard slams a venomous drive just inside the near post and into the back of the net! The goalkeeper just couldn't get down quickly enough.
Real Madrid are still enjoying the lion's share of possession, but Marcelino's men will fancy their chances of edging back onto level terms. Danilo drives down the right-hand side, before being denied by Denis, with Los Blancos being forced to play slow and steady football.
Denis manages to muster up a looping, tame effort from just inside the opposition penalty area, but Navas makes a simple catch. Real Madrid respond with some pressure of their own, another cross from Lucas can't be turned home by Ronaldo. 
Léo Baptistão
Adrián
Villarreal
Baptistao comes into the contest at the expense of Adrian, with the ex-Porto forward having a quiet hour.
Zidane may well look to his bench before long, with Real Madrid just struggling to find the cutting edge required to break Villarreal's resolve once and for all. The longer than this contest stays at 1-0, the quicker the nerves could set in at the Bernabeu.
Samu
J. dos Santos
Villarreal
Samu Garcia comes into the game on the right flank, with Dos Santos taking his leave.
Bailly makes two headed clearances in quick succession, with Lucas then able to force Asenjo into a simple save after shooting from a tight angle on the right. Real Madrid just can't seem to double their lead, which will be necessary for safeguarding the three points this evening.
Villarreal continue to sit in two deep banks of four, with Real Madrid struggling to break them down. Ronaldo is the target of a cross from the right by Lucas, but Bailly again proves to be the Portugal international's nemesis this evening. Zidane's men are relentlessly pressing on, but don't have much to show for their efforts. Less than half an hour remains, with Marcelino's side still in with a chance of stealing a point.
Dos Santos bends a speculative diagonal towards the back post, with Bakambu looking to stretch to meet it! Ramos is alive to the danger, however, with the ex-Sevilla defender making a timely intervention to deny Villarreal their first opportunity of the second period. Moments later, Bailly covers across excellently to halt a Real Madrid break, with Ronaldo being left in a heap on the turf as a result.
Great challenge from Bonera! Benzema drives into space down the left, before sliding a low cross into the path of Ronaldo! The Italian centre-back, however, has other ideas. Sliding in at full stretch, he deflects the driven pass off his opponent and behind for a goal-kick. Excellent defending.
Marcelo drives down the left with intent, but Trigueros does brilliantly to intercept a pass from the Brazilian that was aimed towards the feet of Benzema. Moments later, Ronaldo jinks in from out wide, before trying his luck from 20 yards out, but Asenjo has the confidence to watch the attempt behind for a goal-kick.
Marcelo tries to dip a dangerous cross towards the back post, but Rukavina is present to flick a good clearance away. The hosts have started the second half in the same vein as they finished the first, with constant pressure failing to result in any clear-cut chances. Yet another cut-back from the byline evades the presence of Benzema.
Kroos does well to release Marcelo down the left, with the Brazil international then cutting a pass infield to Ronaldo. The latter tries his luck, but a deflection takes his effort looping up into the air and then into Asenjo's awaiting grasp.
Ronaldo rises highest at the near post to meet a corner delivery from Kroos, but the former Manchester United forward can only guide a powerful header wide of the upright! Moments later, the Portuguese does brilliantly to race upfield alone and win a set-piece from Bailly. The corner is taken short, before finding Modric lurking on the edge of the box, but the ex-Dinamo man curls a low shot just wide of the bottom-right corner!
Ramos gifts possession away to Bakambu, but his central defender partner saves his skin by stepping out to intercept ahead of a run from Denis. The hosts respond with a counter, but a deflected half-volley from Modric swerves high and wide of the target.
We are back underway in the second half in the capital! With both Barca and Atleti picking up favourable results this evening, Real Madrid have no choice but to do the same if they are to stay in the title reckoning.
HALF-TIME! Real Madrid go into the interval with a narrow one-goal lead, courtesy of an opener from Benzema. The Frenchman was gifted the opportunity by Asenjo, after Villarreal held their opponents at bay well for the majority of the first-half contest.
Danilo
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Danilo gets a booking for the hosts, after diving into the late tackle that halted a break for the visitors.
Trigueros
Yellow Card
Villarreal
Trigueros picks up a yellow card, with the midfielder stepping across Kroos in both late and cynical fashion.
Villarreal win themselves a free-kick on the right-hand side, but the delivery is cleared with ease. Real Madrid try to respond with a break, but Modric's pass is cut out. End-to-end stuff ensues, with Navas then forced into his first real save of the evening, after a powerful shot was unleashed by Denis.
K. Benzema
Goal
Real Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! BENZEMA MAKES IT 1-0! The Frenchman manages to flick home a close-range effort, just when things didn't appear to be going Los Blancos' way! Ronaldo crossed in, with an Asenjo parry falling kindly to the Real Madrid striker. He just couldn't miss from there.
Ronaldo gets in behind Mario, but play is pulled back due to the Portugal international straying offside beyond Bonera. Moments later, the same Real Madrid forward looks to threaten, but blasts a terrible long-range effort high into the stands behind Asenjo's net.
Marcelo manages to win the home side a corner, with Dos Santos making the clearance. Kroos delivers, but Asenjo claims simply, before an attempted break from Villarreal peters out. Bakambu tries to switch possession out to the left, but Danilo intercepts ahead of Denis. Moments later, Benzema lifts a cross in from the left, but Lucas can't rise high enough to meet it!
Benzema tries to chase a throughball into the penalty area, but Bonera recovers to usher the ball back to Asenjo. Villarreal have been organised and calm off the ball, with their goalkeeper well protected. Lucas tries to scamper into space on the edge of the box, but the ex-Espanyol wide man is mobbed by yellow shirts.
The hosts win themselves a corner on the right flank, but a looping header from Varane is cleared behind for a second set-piece. This time, the delivery into the box is poor and Villarreal flush their lines of the danger. Marcelino's men are barely venturing out of their own half with the ball in their possession.
Benzema whips a cross into the box from the left-hand side, but again it is Bailly who gets his head ont it. Real Madrid maintain their pressure, with Modric and Lucas combining, but the latter can only sweep a half-volley with his weaker foot over the crossbar!
Wide from Benzema! The Frenchman is picked out at the near post by a low, dangerous cross from Danilo. Rather than slotting home a difficult finish, the ball cannons of the ex-Lyon striker and beyond Asenjo's near post.
Denis tries to lay a pass down the line for Adrian to chase, but the two aren't on the same wavelength and Varane mops up. Real Madrid with a counter-attack, but Lucas can only manage to win his side an advanced throw-in. Modric then gets the chance to whip a cross into the danger area, but Bailly hooks a vital clearance away from Benzema.
The home fans are growing a little restless, given that Los Blancos haven't opened the scoring yet, but their chances have been relatively limited. Ronaldo is the subject of a quick throughball from Benzema, but the service zips off the Bernabeu turf and straight behind for an opposition goal-kick.
Bailly goes down briefly, after clashing with Mario, with the Ivory Coast international appearing to be winded slightly. He continues, but is moving gingerly, but it seems as though he will carry on without any real issue.
The opening stages have belonged to the home side, with Adrian and Bakambu unable to get service to stick to them up top. The latter has threatened to get in behind with some powerful running, but otherwise the visitors have worked entirely with a defensive duty in mind.
Ronaldo has a free-kick attempt from 30 yards out, but the Portugal international thumps the ball into the wall. The hosts earn a corner from the deflection effort, but Varane can only rise highest at the near post before planting a poor header well wide of the left-hand post!
Marcelo does brilliantly to keep the ball in play on the left-hand side, before cutting back onto his opposite foot and curling in a dangerous cross. It flashes across the face of goal, with Benzema unable to quite get there to test Asenjo.
Los Blancos are working the ball from side to side, patiently probing for an opening. Vazquez has suffered a little, with the winger tucking right in, as opposed to playing his usual game of hugging the touchline. Villarreal are staying narrow, banking on the fact that they are aerially superior to Benzema.
Asenjo is easily able to claim a cross from the right-hand side, with Real Madrid struggling to provide any kind of cutting edge in the final third as of yet. The hosts are keeping things fairly simple, with Villarreal pressing ensuring that no potential for defence splitting passes is showing its face too often.
Kroos bursts forward from midfield, before trying to slot a throughball into the path of Benzema. Bailly recovers well, with the ex-Malaga defender intercepting just inside his own penalty area in order to defuse the situation. Zidane is kicking every ball in his technical area.
Asenjo is forced into a save at his near post, after Ronaldo managed to shoot across Bailly from a tight angle. Zidane's men are doing all of the early threatening, with the Yellow Submarine not getting a large amount of possession anywhere other than within their own half. Ramos does well to head a dangerous long throughball back to Navas.
Modric opens play out to the left, with Ronaldo then combining with Marcelo. Villarreal, however, stay in their shape neatly, with the visitors providing the congestion required to frustrate Los Blancos. The latter manages to earn his side a corner, but Dos Santos heads clear with ease.
Rukavina makes a good defensive header, with Real Madrid starting to pile the pressure on. Crosses are being flighted in from the left, with Marcelo threatening. Villarreal fail to clear their lines at the second time of asking, with Modric getting onto the ball on the edge of the box. The Croatian midfielder goes down, but the referee waves play on, with Benzema then firing at Asenjo from 16 yards!
Trigueros opens play out to the left flank, with Denis checking inside two opponents before having the door shut in his face by Casemiro. The ex-Porto defender continues to offer a real physical presence in the centre of the park for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid respond with a break of their own, but an eventual back-post delivery is hooked away from Benzema, just as the move looked dangerous. Navas then gets his first touch of the ball, as a long pass that was looking for Bakambu proved to be way too heavy.
Villarreal try and keep the ball early on, with Marcelino's men not afraid to play their way out of trouble. Dos Santos is released down the right-hand side, before trying to slot a throughball into the path of Adrian, but Ramos steps out well to make an interception.
We are underway in the first half at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu! Real Madrid need a win to keep their title hopes alive, with Villarreal simply looking to cement themselves in fourth place with some additional points tonight. The hosts can't slip up now, with Barca already winning tonight.
Villarreal substitutes: Victor Ruiz, Samu, Baptistao, Areola, Adrian Marin, Rodri Hernandez, Pablo Iniguez.
Villarreal starting line-up (4-4-2): Asenjo; Mario, Bailly, Bonera, Rukavina; Dos Santos, Bruno, Trigueros, Denis; Bakambu, Adrian.
Real Madrid substitutes: Casilla, Nacho, James, Kovacic, Arbeloa, Jese, Isco.
Real Madrid starting line-up (4-3-3): Navas; Danilo, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Lucas, Benzema, Ronaldo.
TEAM NEWS: Sergio Asenjo is preferred to Alphonse Areola in goal, with Antonio Rukavina starting in the absence of Jaume Costa. Daniele Bonera partners Eric Bailly at centre-back, with Mateo Musacchio sidelined due to injury and Victor Ruiz overlooked. Bruno returns from a ban, with Jonathan dos Santos set to start on the right due to Samu Castillejo being absent. Roberto Soldado misses out, with Adrian partnering Cedric Bakumbu up top.
TEAM NEWS: Dani Carvajal misses out due to a knock, with Danilo returning from suspension to start at right-back. Raphael Varane partners Sergio Ramos at centre-back, meanwhile. Casemiro offers balance in the midfield, with Lucas Vazquez given a rare chance at right-midfield due to Gareth Bale's injury. Karim Benzema leads the line, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the left.
The hosts are currently sat on 75 points, with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with their noses in front. Should either of them slip up, and should this coincide with Real Madrid at least taking a share of the spoils this evening, Zidane's men will jump up potentially into second place. Not to mention, if it gets very tight, they have a nine-goal advantage on goal difference over the Blaugrana.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the latest of tonight's La Liga clashes, as Real Madrid play host to Europa League semi-finalists Villarreal. Despite only sitting one place below Los Blancos in the Spanish top-flight table, Marcelino's men are 15 points in the hosts' wake. After Barcelona's recent stumbles, Zinedine Zidane's men are within touching distance of a shot at the title.
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