Villarreal fall by the minimum on their visit to Athletic Club (1-0)
Villarreal suffered their second loss of the season on their visit to the San Mamés stadium to face Athletic Club (1-0). The Yellows were organized at the back and closed out the home side well in the first half, but they were broken down in the second as the locals were in control of possession. Fran Escribá’s side are fourth in the table, with 22 points, and this Thursday they play in the Europa League against FC Zürich (7pm CET).
Strategies overshadowed the spectacle in the first half. There were hardly any clear cut chances in the first 45 minutes and the Submairne defence was solid and well organized. The main fight was for the possession of the ball, which is why neither team created any clear goal scoring opportunities.
The game picked up considerably in the second half. The locals pushed forward and started to create danger in the Yellows’ area. In the 60th minute, Williams almost opened the scoring after dribbling around Asenjo, but his shot hit the post. As they were pinned back by the locals, Fran Escribá’s men opted for winning the ball back and attacking on the counter.
In the 66th minute Athletic took the lead. Raúl García converted the rebound after Asenjo saved Aduriz’s shot. The clash got more complicated for Villarreal. After the goal, Escribá changed things up and threw Pato and Bakambu into the mix to stir things up in attack.
The Submarine started to have more of the ball, but the red and whites were well organized at the back and closed the visitors out effectively. In the 75th minute, Asenjo kept the locals at bay with a magnificent save at point-blank range from an Aduriz strike. Five minutes later, after a misunderstanding in the Yellows defence, the Yellows number 1 saved their skin once again.
In the 81st minute, Pato’s shot across goal was saved by a well positioned Kepa. The match turned into a back and forth scrap, with action from box to box, but the Yellows could not find the equalizer. In the end it was a defeat by the smallest of margins for Villarreal at the San Mamés stadium.
Athletic Club: Kepa; Bóveda, Yeray, Laporte, Balenziaga; Vesga (San José, 62’), Mikel Rico, Iñaki Williams, Raúl García (Eraso, 85’), Muniain (Susaeta, 62’); and Aduriz.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Álvaro, Víctor Ruíz, J. Costa; Bruno, Rodrigo, Soriano (Jonathan dos Santos, 63’), S. Castillejo, Trigueros (Pato, 70’); and Sansone (Bakambu, 68’).
Goal: 1-0, min. 66: Raúl García.
Referee: José María Sánchez Martínez (Murcia, Spain). Cautioned: Sansone (17’) and Jaume Costa (75’) for Villarreal.