Villarreal lose in Vitoria despite having a number of goalscoring opportunities
Villarreal lost against Deportivo Alavés (2-1) in a match where the Yellows had many chances to score. The home side’s goals came from Laguardia and Esclante, while the Submarine’s effort was scored by Samu Chukwueze.
Unai Emery made eight changes from the starting XI at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals first leg midweek. Only Pau Torres, Dani Parejo and Chukwueze were still starters.
The match started in the worst way possible for the Yellows. Alavés went ahead on the scoreboard in the fourth minute. A corner flicked on by Joselu at the near post was scored by Laguardia at the back post (1-0).
Despite the early surprise, Villarreal continued to dominate possession. The Submarine had clear goalscoring chances, with Alfonso Pedraza having the best one, with the left-back causing problems down his flank. Despite the chances for the Yellos, it was Alavés who got the next goal on the half-way mark.
Rubén Duarte got free down the left flank, crossed into the box and Escalante scored. Sergio Asenjo could do nothing (2-0).
At half-time, Emery made two changes. Pau and Parejo stayed in the dressing room, with Juan Foyth and Gio Lo Celso coming on.
Villarreal got one back at the start of the second half. Chukwueze got the ball on the right, and cut inside, avoiding various defenders, before finally scoring with a low shot (2-1).
The Yellows had more chances from then on. One of the best fell to Manu Trigueros, whose powerful effort from the edge of the box was saved well by Pacheco (m.66). Alavés also had options as both teams went head-to-head.
Paco Alcácer came off the bench, and the Yellows No.9 tried his best to level the tie, but was denied by Pacheco every time. Despite the siege from the Yellows late on, the scoreboard stayed the same.
Next up for Villarreal will be the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals against Liverpool FC at the Estadio de la Cerámica (Tuesday, 9pm CEST).
Deportivo Alavés: Pacheco; Ximo Navarro, Laguardia, Lejeune, Rubén Duarte; Loum, Escalante (Pina, m. 86); Edgar (Martín, m. 63), Manu García (Pere Pons, m. 81), Rioja (Jason, m. 86); Joselu.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Aurier, Mandi, Pau (Foyth, m. 46), Pedraza (Estupiñán, m. 57); Iborra (Paco Alcácer, m. 74), Parejo (Lo Celso, m. 46); Chukwueze, Trigueros, Moi Gómez (Capoue, m. 57); Dia.
Goals: 1-0. Min. 4: Laguardia. 2-0. Min. 30: Escalante. 2-1. Min. Chukwueze.
Referee: Ortiz Arias. Booked: Manu García, Escalante, Laguardia, Rubén Duarte (Alavés); Dia, Capoue (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Matchday 34 of LaLiga, at Mendizorrotza.