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Cazorla's double frustrates Los Blancos

Real Madrid were denied victory in their first LaLiga encounter of the year after drawing 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Thursday evening.

Following a poor first half of the season that brought home only three wins, Villarreal desperately needed to get the year underway with a win.

However, it needed to be done without skipper Mario Gaspar through suspension, while the returning Santi Cazorla and in-demand attacker Samuel Chukwueze lead the attack.

With Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio out through injury, Real’s options in attack were limited with Karim Benzema as the only recognised out-and-out striker.

Villa were quick out of the starting blocks, with Chukwueze bursting through to the box to aim for a top corner finish, but Thibaut Courtois steadied to pull off a huge save inside three minutes.

Two minutes later, the recently-crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions were stunned when Chukwueze’s cross ito the box found Cazorla, who curled home a wonderfully worked effort.

With barely moments gone, Real were level after Benzema rose high to meet a looping cross from Lucas Vazquez for a free-header into the bottom corner.

The Frenchman was close to a brace, but from a similar scenario to his initial effort, the header shaded wide of the Villarreal goal-post.

The Frenchman was close to a brace, but from a similar scenario to his initial effort, the header shaded wide of the Villarreal goal-post.

Inevitably, the lead was claimed by the powerful Los Blancos when a header from Raphael Varane found its way into the back of the net inside 21 minutes.

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