Real Madrid's Arjen Robben (Right) and Villareal's Joan Capdevila fight for the ball during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Sunday, January 4, 2009. [Photo: Shanghai Daily/Agencies]
Arjen Robben scored a brilliant goal to help Real Madrid beat Villarreal 1-0 in the Spanish league on Sunday.
The former Chelsea man jinked his way through several opponents, leaving Spanish star Marcos Senna sprawling on the ground before unleashing an unstoppable 31st minute winner.
It was coach Juande Ramos's second league win in charge and Real climb to third but they need Barcelona, who came from behind to defeat Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday, to start slipping up.
Villarreal, which remain without a win at Madrid's stadium, dropped to seventh place with 29 points after managing only one victory in its past seven league games.
In late matches, Sevilla dropped to fourth place by drawing 1-1 with last-place Osasuna, while Deportivo La Coruna won 2-1 at Getafe and rose to sixth.
After 17 games, Barcelona lead the league with 44 points, 11 more than Valencia. Madrid and Sevilla follow with 32, while Atletico Madrid and Deportivo have 30.