It was an ugly end to and ugly and scrappy game, with Real held to a 1-1 draw for the second consecutive game to breathe new life into the Spanish title race.
First things first -matters on the pitch. The irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the main man for Real as he gave Madrid the lead against struggling Villarreal at El Madrigal.
However, Marcos Senna’s free kick seven minutes from time ensured a share of the spoils in a laregely dour game.
The point means Real’s lead from Barca at the top has been cut from 10 points to six in the last two matches and punters who bet on La Liga are no longer sure of the destination of the title.
To make things worse for Real both Sergio Ramos and Mezut Ozil were shown the red card, while trainer Rui Faria and boss Jose Mourinho himself were sent from the dugouts by the referee Paradas Romero.
Not that it was all the player’s fault – Romero himself appeared to lose control and failed to get a grip on proceedings. La Liga is not a division for weak referees, as the players will seek to exploit any signs of weakness to push the boundaries of legal play.
Meanwhile Barcelona will be sitting quietly, watching the shambolic proceedings with increasing optimism.
Their nature of this result and the displays of petulance at the final whistle suggests the pressure is getting to Real as they see their lead at the top get chipped away. They remain favourites in the La Liga betting , but they are not highly fancied as they were just a few weeks ago.
Barca – buoyed by record breaker – Lionel Messi – suddenly have fresh momentum and with a El Clasico at the Nou Camp to come, Pep Guradiola’s men may just complete the unlikeliest of title comebacks.