Sep 15 2013, 3:34am CDT | by IANS
Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw.
Bale may have been the centre of attention before the game kicked off Saturday, but it was Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez who was his side's saviour in the first half with a series of spectacular saves to keep Madrid in the match, reports Xinhua.
Lopez had already made three fine stops before Cani put Villarreal ahead with a low shot after 20 minutes and produced another fine double stop before Madrid began to show signs of life.
Bale scored the debut goal that Madrid fans will have been dreaming about six minutes before the break, showing strength to get past his marker to prod home Javier Carvajal's low cross from the edge of the penalty area.
But if Madrid went in level at the break it was thanks to Lopez who was returning to haunt his former club.
The second half kicked off with Bale lashing a shot over the Villarreal bar before Jaume Costa let Madrid off the hook by sidefooting wide of an open goal.
Villarreal may have just returned to the top flight from the Spanish second division, but they were looking the better side against a Madrid side that lacked cohesion in both midfield and defence.
Against the run of play Cristiano Ronaldo put Real Madrid ahead.
The Portuguese striker saw his shot strike a defender before rebounding over the helpless Sergio Asenjo in to the Villarreal goal.
Villarreal were soon level. Lopez made another fine save, but could only direct the ball to Giovani Dos Santos, who scored with an angled shot into the far corner with 20 minutes remaining.
There were chances at either end in the closing minutes, but although they had to cling on grimly in the closing minutes, perhaps Villarreal will be more disappointed with the draw.
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