Real rely on defence

MADRID - Real Madrid and Villarreal singled out strong defensive displays as the reason for their progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.

MADRID - Real Madrid and Villarreal singled out strong defensive displays as the reason for their progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Spanish champions survived freezing temperatures in Belarus on Tuesday to beat BATE Borisov 1-0, thanks to an early goal from Raul, and qualify from Group H.

Villarreal held European champions Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at the Madrigal stadium to qualify from Group E.

For Real Madrid a second consecutive clean sheet, after they beat Recreativo Huelva 1-0 on Saturday, was something of a novelty.

Bernd Schuster's side has been heavily criticised for some below-par performances and a leaky defence of late, and they last kept consecutive clean sheets in mid-September.

Real, two points behind leaders Juventus, have to beat Zenit St Petersburg at home next month to have a chance of taking the top spot in Group H. - Reuters

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