MADRID, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid was held to a 1-1 draw on its visit to second placed Villarreal on Saturday afternoon.
Mariano Diaz opened the scoring for Madrid after just two minutes, but his goal was cancelled out from the penalty spot by Spain international Gerard Moreno with 15 minutes left to play.
The result will increase the pressure on Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who, perhaps, won't be too disappointed after fielding a side without Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde and Casemiro.
Real Madrid travelled without those key players, as well as Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola and Luka Jovic, through a combination of injuries and positive tests for the coronavirus. Mariano made his first start in over 560 days.
Mariano needed just two minutes to head home a cross from Dani Carvajal, who was back in the side after two months out with a knee injury. There was controversy as the linesman raised his flag for offside and then lowered it and the VAR allowed the goal to stand.
Villarreal looked to react but failed to draw a save out of Thibaut Courtois in the first half with a shot from Dani Parejo, which flew over the bar.
Gerard Moreno wasted a good chance for Villarreal early in the second half when he shot wide after a defensive error and Parejo should have scored after a good cross from the left from Pervis Estupinan.
Moreno leveled from the penalty spot after Courtois brought down Samuel Chukwueze, who was clean through on goal.
Villarreal substitute Take Kubo had a chance to win the game in injury time, but Courtois made a good save from the Japanese forward who is on loan from Real Madrid.