Gareth Bale scored twice to save Real Madrid from a damaging defeat away at Villarreal on Sunday before capping a dramatic 2-2 La Liga draw by being sent off in injury-time.
Zinedine Zidane said in July it would be “best for everyone” if Bale left this summer but it was the Welshman’s double that earned Madrid a point from a thrilling contest at la Ceramica.
Villarreal had taken an early lead through Gerard Moreno but Bale opened his account on the stroke of half-time.
Moi Gomez put the hosts back in front but Bale hit a late equaliser.
Villarreal started well and were rewarded when Moreno seized on the loose ball after Thibaut Courtois parried Karl Toko Ekambi‘s low shot.
The visitors grew into the game and equalised on the stroke of half time when Bale scored his first league goal of the 2019/20 campaign.
Madrid were dominant after the interval and Toni Kroos was denied by a brilliant double save by Andres Fernandez before Karim Benzema‘s effort was ruled out for offside.
Villarreal then landed a sucker-punch on the break as Mario Gaspar‘s cross was cleared only to Santi Cazorla. His shot was saved by Courtois but Javi Ontiveros fired in again and Gomez was perfectly placed.
Villarreal tried to hang on but tension set in and Bale equalised with four minutes left, cutting inside from the right and dragging a shot back inside the near post.
He might have fancied a hat-trick in injury time but instead picked up two yellow cards, the second for a late challenge on Ontiveros.
Zidane has now won only six of the 14 matches since he returned as coach in March and it remains to be seen if the club make any late additions on the final day of the transfer window on Monday.
The result sees Madrid climb to fifth in the La Liga table, while Villarreal move to 16th.