Victory for the capital outfit would have obliged their Catalan rivals to take at least a point at Mallorca on Sunday to secure their second trophy of the week, but even that proved unnecessary. Robert Pirès headed the hosts in front from Ariel Ibagaza’s cross after 17 minutes and although Los Merengues levelled through Rafael van der Vaart (47), Cani then restored the Yellow Submarine’s lead just past the hour when he drilled past Iker Casillas at the near post. Madrid equalised for a second time when substitute Gonzalo Higuaín (88) struck his 20th league goal of the season, however there was still time for a mistake from Casillas to allow Joan Capdevila to capitalise dramatically.
The win lifted Villarreal into fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Valencia and five behind Sevilla, who drew 0-0 at strugglers CA Osasuna. Both sides finished with ten men following red cards in the final seven minutes for Ndri Romaric and Sergio Fernández. Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruña’s bid for a place in the top four faltered with a 1-1 home draw with Getafe, Riki (86) salvaging a point for the hosts.