Real Madrid´s season ended in disappointment as they lost their La Liga title to city rivals Atletico after a 2-1 win over Villarreal.
The hosts simply could not find a way through Unai Emery´s yellow wall for much of the match, and looked vulnerable on the counter as they kept a high line.
And while hopes were high when Real learned that title rivals Atletico had fallen behind against Real Valladolid, just minutes later Villarreal took the lead to close the door once more.
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Yeremi Pino bamboozled Alvaro Odriozola in the box before poking past Thibaut Courtois, meaning both Madrid sides were behind at half time, with neither able to take full advantage of the other´s struggles.
Real continued to struggle in the second period, as both Luka Modric and Eder Militao had half chances inside the Villarreal box.
Karim Benzema finally had the ball in the back of the net with a late equaliser, but it was too little, too late, and Luke Modric's injury-time winner meant nothing.
At the same time, Atletico Madrid had taken the lead in their match, all but putting the title in their hands with a win no longer enough for Real.
Zinedine Zidane´s men looked lethargic after a long season, and Real saw out their season, and perhaps Zidane´s tenureship, in disappointment..
MAN OF THE MATCH - KARIM BENZEMA
Finished arguably his finest season in a Real Madrid shirt with a fine goal and assist, and to his credit he never gave up when his side were really lacking in inspiration. Will be the dangerman for France this summer.
TALKING POINT - REAL FALL SHORT
The table tells you they were just two points off, but the truth is that Atletico fully deserved their La Liga title this season and Real rarely looked like champions.
For much of this evening they were outplayed, and looked uninspired when the opportunity presented itself to potentially win the title.
Without Sergio Ramos leading the side they often looked bereft of motivation, and while they deserve credit for pushing their city rivals to the end, their season ends trophyless. Like their Clasico rivals, they face an important summer rebuild.
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Villarreal: Rulli 6, Pedraza 7, Torres 6, Albiol 7, Gaspar 6, Pino 7, Capoue 7, Parejo 7, Trigueros 6, Bacca 6, Moreno 5. Subs. Coquelin 6, Pena 5, Raba 4, Alcacer 5, Gomez n/a.
Real Madrid: Courtois 5, Gutierrez 6, Varan 6, Militao 7, Odriozola 7, Modric 7, Casemiro 6, Valverde 6, Vinicius 5, Asensio 5, Benzema 7. Subs. Isco 6, Mariano 6, Nacho 5, Rodrygo 7, Marcelo 6.
20 - GOAL! REAL MADRID 0-1 VILLARREAL (Pino). WHAT IS GOING ON? Pino wrongfoots Odriozola in the box with a smart touch and he has the space to poke past Courtois! Atletico open the door but Real don´t fancy it!
55 - GOAL! REAL MADRID 1 VILLARREAL 1 (Benzema). Benzema has a header in the net! GAME ON! But is he offside??? VAR having a look!
58 - GOAL DISALLOWED! BENZEMA´S HEADER RULED OUT FOR OFFSIDE! What a dreadful two minutes for Real Madrid. VAR HAS SPOKEN!
87´- GOAL! REAL MADRID 1 VILLARREAL 1 (Benzema). They have an equaliser! It means so, so little. But at least they may just avoid defeat. Benzema puts the finishing touches on a fine season as Rodrygo finds him in the box. He has so much space and finds the top corner. He´s had a brilliant year and it suits that he tops it off with a goal, even if the title eludes his team.
90+3´- GOAL! REAL MADRID 2 VILLAREAL 1 (Modric). LATE DRAMA! Modric has put Real in the lead with a brilliant strike! Can Valladolid grab a goal now?????
Benzema´s return of 23 La Liga goals is his second best in a Real Madrid shirt.
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