Mariano Diaz, Jesus Vallejo Power Real Madrid to Narrow Win vs. Villarreal

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMay 5, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 05:  Mariano of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's third goal with Lucas Vazquez and Brahim Diaz during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 05, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Mariano Diaz bagged a brace and Jesus Vallejo was also on target as Real Madrid beat Villarreal 3-2 in La Liga on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Los Blancos got off to a dream start by taking the lead after just 84 seconds. Brahim Diaz hustled the ball off Santi Cazorla, allowing Mariano to roll a low shot past goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.

Yet their lead only lasted 10 minutes as Villarreal levelled after Casemiro had been caught in possession by Pablo Fornals. The ball then fell to Gerard Moreno to power a superb finish high into the top corner.

Real Madrid restored their lead just before half-time after more poor defending. Marcelo's low shot was blocked only as far as Vallejo who converted from close range.

Mariano scored his second of the game just three minutes after half-time. Dani Carvajal sent in a brilliant cross from the right for the Frenchman to convert from close range at the far post.

Both sides had chances to score in an entertaining second half, and Villarreal managed a consolation goal in stoppage time from substitute Jaume Costa. However, it was not enough for the visitors who remain five points off the drop zone with two games left to play.

     

Real Should Make Luka Jovic Their Top Priority This Summer

Mariano was given the chance to impress against Villarreal and scored twice against the Yellow Submarine to help Real Madrid return to winning ways at the Santiago Bernabeu:

The 25-year-old had only managed one La Liga goal in 12 La Liga outings prior to Sunday's win, and the brace seemed to fill him with confidence as he produced a lively showing.

The Frenchman's first goal was gifted to him after Cazorla lost possession, while he could hardly miss his second after Carvajal had put the ball on a plate for him.

However, there were also flaws to his game too, as noted by ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan:

Mariano's campaign has been disrupted by injuries, but his start against Villarreal was just his second under Zinedine Zidane, which suggests he is yet to earn the confidence of the Real Madrid manager.

Despite his goals against a struggling Villarreal side, Real Madrid still look in need of attacking reinforcements if they are to challenge for La Liga and the UEFA Champions League next season.

The club have been heavily reliant on Karim Benzema for goals this season, but the striker will turn 32 in December and the club need to look toward the future.

Los Blancos have been heavily linked with a move for Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic, and AS have reported terms have been agreed:

Frankfurt director Fredi Bobic has told ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein there has been "no contact" from Real Madrid, but Los Blancos should make the 21-year-old their top priority this summer.

Jovic has 17 goals in 23 league games this season and has the speed, movement and finishing ability that can help provide the cutting edge in attack that Real Madrid have been lacking this season after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure.

   

Real Madrid Must Keep Brahim Diaz, Not Loan Him Out

Brahim has struggled to make much of an impact at Real Madrid since his January move from Manchester City but has shown in recent games that he deserves more chances in the first team.

The 19-year-old appears to quickly be becoming a fan favourite at the Bernabeu and helped Real Madrid get off to a quick start by hassling Cazorla out of possession for the opening goal (UK only):

The teenager was sharp and quick to press throughout the match. He posed problems for Villarreal with his skill on the ball, hunger and quick feet and went close with a couple of curling shots.

Television presenter Phil Kitromilides does not expect him to have to wait long for his first Madrid goal:

Corrigan was also impressed with the youngster, who was replaced in the second half by Vinicius Junior:

There have been reports that Brahim will be loaned out over the summer in order to gain more regular playing time even though the forward wants to stay:

Real Madrid look set for a summer overhaul as Zidane attempts to rebuild the squad at the Bernabeu, but Brahim has shown exciting glimpses of the potential he possesses and deserves to chance to prove himself in the Spanish capital.

       

What's Next?

Real Madrid travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday for their penultimate La Liga fixture and then finish their campaign at home to Real Betis on May 19. Villarreal host Eibar on Sunday and then visit Getafe in their final league fixture of the season.

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