Real Madrid loses at Villarreal in Spanish league

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BARCELONA, Spain — Villarreal beat Real Madrid 2-1 in a vibrant Spanish league match on Saturday before Carlo Ancelotti’s side heads to Saudi Arabia to play in the Spanish Super Cup.

Yeremy Pino put Villarreal deservedly ahead in the 47th minute after a first half they dominated.

A handball by Villarreal’s Juan Foyth allowed Karim Benzema to momentarily level from the penalty spot in the 60th.

But another handball, this time by Madrid defender David Alaba, sent Gerard Moreno to take the winner for Villarreal in the 63rd.

The loss by the defending champion gave Barcelona the opportunity to regain sole lead of the competition on Sunday when it visits Atlético Madrid.

Villarreal moved into fifth place as it hunts for a top-four finish and a Champions League berth. The victory was a huge boost for Quique Setién, the former Barcelona coach who replaced Unai Emery as coach in October.

PHOTOS: Real Madrid loses at Villarreal in Spanish league

Madrid will pause league play to compete in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia along with Barcelona, Real Betis and Valencia.

Once back in Spain, Madrid will face another trip to Estadio de la Cerámica to play Villarreal in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Madrid’s starting 11 included no Spanish players. According to Opta statistics, this was the first time Madrid did not have a Spaniard on the field at kickoff in a Spanish league game in this century. Other local media said it was the first time this occurred in the history of the club.

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