Alicante (Spain) : Villarreal rallied for a 2-2 draw at Hercules but missed a chance to go top of the Spanish league for the first time in club history.
Nelson Valdez and Joan Capdevila exchanged goals before David Trezeguet put Hercules ahead 2-1 in the 41st minute. The French striker was sent off just three minutes later for
protesting on Monday .
Villarreal took advantage in the 63rd to equalize through Borja Valero, who was then sent off with nine minutes to play following a reckless challenge on Royston Drenthe.
Mateo Musacchio lashed out to catch Drenthe in the face with his arm to see the visitors reduced to nine men one minute later.
Real Madrid leads with 17 points after seven rounds, while Villarreal, Barcelona and Valencia all have 16 points and Atletico Madrid is next with 13. Hercules has eight points
Hercules again showed it is not to be taken lightly, having already beaten Barcelona and Sevilla this season, and on-loan Real Madrid forward Drenthe created the bulk of the
host`s chances with a standout performance.
But it was Villarreal striker Nilmar who nearly opened the scoring at the Jose Rico Perez stadium in the 19th, only to be denied by the woodwork.
Valdez notched his third goal of the season in the 26th as Drenthe used some trickery on a free kick before finding the Paraguay striker alone inside the area to shoot past Diego
But Villarreal answered three minutes later after a good buildup as Angel Lopez`s centering pass skipped through the area to find Capdevila alone at the far post for an easy
Trezeguet then latched on to Drenthe`s centering pass as it bobbled in the area before firing into the roof of goal.
But the veteran striker had little time to celebrate his fourth goal as he was also shown a second yellow card.
Juan Calatayud got a hand up to deny Nilmar on a break in the 49th before Villarreal finally drew even when Valera beat the offside trap to go free along the right and blast a shot across goal.
Despite being a man down, Hercules had the better chances as Drenthe raced clear along the left in the 71st, but Lopez got a slight touch to his shot to deflect it out.
Santi Cazorla nearly curled into the top corner in the 77th, just before Hercules defender Noe Pamarot missed a great chance with a header in the frantic finish.
Villarreal was soon down to nine men and struggled to contain Drenthe, with Lopez needing to dive to his left to keep the Dutch player`s swerving free kick out of the bottom corner in the 90th. Lopez then denied Abraham Paz on the ensuing corner kick. Bureau Report