Chukwueze Bags Brace As Villarreal Stun Madrid 3-2 At Bernabeu

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Samuel Chukwueze showcased Man of The Match performance and upstaged Vinícius Júnior by scoring twice in an outstanding display by the Villarreal forward to lead its 3-2 comeback win at Real Madrid in the Spanish league on Saturday.

The Nigeria international canceled out a sixth-minute own goal by teammate Paul Torres when he juked past Nacho Fernández to score his first goal in the 39th minute.

Vinícius put Madrid back in front shortly after halftime after he eluded a pack of defenders, but Chukwueze made a pass that led to substitute José Morales’ equalizer in the 70th. He then struck the 80th-minute winner from long range to stun the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid’s first home loss in the domestic league comes four days before it hosts Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Barcelona can move 15 points clear of second-placed Madrid if it beats Girona on Monday.

Needing an unlikely meltdown by Barcelona to get back in the domestic title race, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti rested several regulars for the Chelsea game. Luka Modric remained on the bench along with Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Éder Militão and Dani Carvajal.

Ancelotti said his team would make a better showing against Chelsea.

“We should have defended better, but it was difficult for us to be 100% motivated,” Ancelotti said. “Wednesday will be different. On Wednesday we will be full on.”

Quique Setién’s Villarreal, which beat Madrid at home 2-1 this season, moved into fifth place at four points from Real Sociedad in fourth and the last Champions League spot.

DRIBBLING DUEL

Chukwueze, 23, and Vinícius, 22, are among the best dribblers in the league, and their skills at tormenting defenders were on full display.

A pass by Vinícius was turned into his own net by Torres to put Madrid ahead early. And three minutes after halftime with the score 1-1, the Brazil forward manufactured a goal all on his own.

Vinícius looked hemmed in when he received the ball outside the area with four defenders surrounding him. But a quick change of pace, some fancy footwork, and a nutmeg to slip by defender Aïssa Mandi left him beating Pepe Reina for his 21st goal this season.

Chukwueze had never won before at Madrid, but he knows how to score big goals. His late goal allowed Villarreal to upset Bayern Munich to reach last year’s Champions League semifinals.

But his game at Madrid topped that.

Chukwueze responded to the own goal by Torres when he received a pass from Giovani Lo Celso inside the box. A slick change of foot caused Nacho Fernández to stumble the wrong way and Chukwueze curled a left-footed shot around Thibaut Courtois.

Chukwueze pulled Villarreal back again late when he dribbled between Fernández and Dani Ceballos before passing to Alejandro Baena, who laid off for substitute Morales to score.

His best effort came, however, when he dribbled across the edge of the area before unleashing a strike that dipped over a diving Courtois into the far corner.

Chukwueze described his winner as “a crazy great goal.”

The forward has 13 in all competitions and seven goals in his last five league games.

“This is what you pay the price of a ticket for, to see games like this, and to see Samu Chukwueze make the spectacular feint like he did on his first goal,” Setién said. “His second shot was superb. He practices it in training and put it right in the corner.”