Real Madrid have taken the lead less than two minutes into their La Liga tie against Villarreal this afternoon, through an unlikely source in Mariano Diaz.
Toni Kroos sparked the potential of a chance when his pinpoint long-range pass was picked up by Dani Carvajal.
The right-back, who is making his first appearance back from injury, showed his quality as he floated an inch-perfect cross into the box.
Mariano, the out-of-favour forward who is deputising for Karim Benzema today, dove down and headed the ball into the back of the net.
VAR did assess a possible offside in the build-up, as Lucas Vazquez almost picked up the loose ball ahead of Carvajal, but Mariano’s effort was allowed to stand.
Mariano's header separates Madrid and Villarreal at the break! ?
The early goal came with all kinds of offside confusion before VAR confirmed it stood ? pic.twitter.com/lN1oIuG3HF
— Premier Sports ? (@PremierSportsTV) November 21, 2020
Pictures from Premier Sports and beIN Sports.
An early goal is exactly the kind of start that Los Blancos need off the back of a shock defeat, they’ve now thrown Villarreal off their game plan and can focus on themselves better.