(CNN) -- Netherlands winger Arjen Robben was on target on Sunday when new-look Real Madrid scored a 1-0 victory over Villarreal that left them 12 points behind Primera Liga leaders Barcelona.
Dutch winger Arjen Robben scored a superb solo goal as Real Madrid beat Villarreal 1-0.
New coach Juande Ramos gave debuts to French midfield signing Lassana Diarra and Dutch striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar who cost a total of euros 40 million -- and was rewarded with his second league victory in charge.
Former Chelsea forward Robben left rivals trailing in his wake before firing a superb left-footed shot into the top corner after 31 minutes as Villarreal suffered a third straight defeat.
Real, who had defenders Pepe and Gabriel Heinze back after injury, could have led after 11 minutes when Robben's deflected shot hit the top of the bar.
And shortly before halftime Huntelaar should have claimed a debut goal but Diego Lopez foiled the Dutchman with a reflex save.
Huntelaar, still lacking full fitness, was substituted by Roysten Drenthe just 10 minutes into the second half.
Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini clearly had a few harsh words to say at halftime and his side were denied after 70 minutes when Giuseppe Rossi's header was pushed onto the bar by Casillas.
Former Bernabeu legend Hugo Sanchez, who won five consecutive league titles in Real colours from 1985 to 1990, had a great start with new club Almeria with his first match in charge ending in a 1-0 win over Real Betis.
Elsewhere Recreativo Huelva did their chances of staying up some good with a 3-1 win over Numancia on Sunday that lifted them out of the bottom three.