Villarreal’s struggles in the Spanish league continued with a 1-1 home draw against Malaga on Sunday, a result that left it further behind in the fight for a Champions League spot next season.
Villarreal remained sixth in the standings, and the gap to fourth-placed Real Sociedad increased to five points after 22 matches. It is seven points behind third-place Sevilla, which plays later Sunday.
The top three teams automatically advance to the group stage of Europe’s top club competition. The fourth-placed club has to go through a playoff. The teams in fifth and sixth place qualify for the lower-tiered Europa League.
Villarreal has won only one of its last six league matches.
Striker Charles opened the scoring for Malaga in the 14th minute, and midfielder Bruno Soriano equalized for the hosts by converting a 62nd-minute penalty kick.
Malaga appealed for a penalty kick not called in its favor in the 54th, when Charles was pulled down inside the area while going for a header.
Villarreal played a man down from the 71st after midfielder Roberto Soriano was sent off with a straight red card for a foul away from the ball.
“It’s a good point, considering how the game developed,” Villarreal coach Fran Escriba said.
The result extended Malaga’s winless streak to nine league matches. It remains 14th in the standings with 23 points.