Villarreal defeated Real Madrid at home as the La Liga champions’ indifferent run continued following the World Cup break.

After narrow wins in the league and the Copa del Rey, Madri’s below-par restart finally caught up with them against a game Villarreal. Gerard Moreno was the hero for the hosts scoring one goal and assisting the other during the 2-1 win with Karim Benzema on target for Real.

Quique Setién’s side flew off the blocks to start the game with Alex Baena and Dani Parejo firing wide before Francis Coquelin rattled the woodwork with a shot from close range in the fifth minute.

Real threatened little but could have gone ahead only for Raul Albiol to thwart their best opportunity of the first half.

Yéremy Pino finally opened the scoring in the 47th minute when he was put through by Moreno and he unleashed a fierce strike past Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid finally grew into the game following Villarreal’s goal, with Benzema and Vinicius again being their side’s main threats. It was the Frenchman who drew his side level from the penalty spot in the 60th minute after Juan Foyth was judged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area.

David Alaba returned the favour just two minutes later with a handball of his own and Moreno put away the spot kick to give Villarreal the lead again.

Substitute Arnaut Danjuma then missed an open with his effort from the halfway line in the added time as Courtois was stranded deep in opposition territory after going up for a corner.

The loss to Villarreal keeps Real Madrid second in the league table with 38 points. Barcelona now has a chance to go three points clear when they meet Atletico Madrid in their next game.

Villarreal moves to fifth with 27 points.