Real held by Villarreal to end 100 percent start

MADRID: Real Madrid's 100 percent start to the La Liga season came to an end as they drew 1-1 at home to Villarreal on Wednesday, halting their joint record run of 16 straight league wins.

Captain Bruno Soriano gave Villarreal the lead on the stroke of halftime with a boldly chipped penalty after Sergio Ramos had handled in the area, although the Real captain made amends by heading in the equaliser in the 48th minute.

Real remain top of La Liga on 13 points but failed to seal a new record of consecutive wins, having equalled the 16 straight victories set by Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in 2010/11 on Sunday.

Champions Barcelona host title rivals Atletico Madrid later on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to action after missing the 2-0 win at Espanyol and spurned two early chances, firing over the bar and heading at goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, who had to punch away a close range header from Karim Benzema.

Former Real midfielder Denis Cheryshev forced Kiko Casilla into a save down the other end, while Nicola Sansone, who had scored from the halfway line against Real Sociedad on Sunday, sent a bicycle kick over the bar.

Real suffered a setback when Marcelo was forced off injured shortly before halftime but that was not the end of their woes.

Villarreal found their way through when Ramos gave away a penalty by halting a Manu Trigueros shot with his hand, and tried to hide his guilt by burying his face in his hands.

Ramos had got away with a similar offence at Espanyol but referee Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez showed no mercy, and Soriano, who had missed from the spot against Malaga earlier in the season, opened the scoring with an audacious chip.

The Spain captain, however, redeemed himself by heading in Toni Kroos' corner early in the second half.

From then on Real dominated proceedings as they searched for a winner.

Gareth Bale flashed a shot wide from a tight angle, Ronaldo narrowly failed to connect with a cross at the far post and later on shot straight at Asenjo, who had denied substitute Alvaro Morata from close range.

Ramos also tried to win a penalty late on following a challenge from Roberto Soriano, but failed to convince referee Gonzalez.