Alvaro Negredo redirected Lopez Recarte's cross into the net in the 52nd minute to deny Villarreal victory.
Nihat Kahveci gave Villarreal the lead in the 13th, running onto Guillermo Franco's threaded pass before slipping his shot between the legs of David Cobeno.
"We all held out hope of finishing the day as leader, but you have to demonstrate that on the field," Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "To get there you have to win, and we couldn't do it. Though, it's still a good point that will keep us moving forward."
Villarreal improved to 28 points, one behind league-leading Real Madrid, which drew 1-1 with Murcia on Saturday.
FC Barcelona is third with 27 points after its 3-0 win over Recreativo Huelva.
Espanyol moved into fourth with 25 points after beating Osasuna 2-1, with Angel Martinez and Valmiro "Valdo" Lopez scoring for the visitors.
Former Madrid striker Javier Portillo scored Osasuna's goal in the 75th.
Racing Santander jumped to 23 points with a 1-0 win over Valencia, which stayed with 24.
Goalkeeper Santiago Canizares misplayed Jorge Lopez's long range half-volley in the 70th as Racing stretched its three-year unbeaten run over Valencia.
Valencia didn't register a shot on target until the 77th. - DDNews