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Heroics against Girona (0-1)
Heroics against Girona (0-1)

The Submarine win where only the champions have won before and defeat one of the best sides in LALIGA thanks to a Traoré goal

Villarreal continue on an upward trajectory. Marcelino’s side beat Girona FC (0-1), one of the great revelations of this season’s LALIGA EA SPORTS, at their home stadium, Montilivi, something that only Real Madrid had achieved this season. Bertrand Traoré’s goal at the start of the second half gave the Submarine three points to keep believing in the fight for the European places.

Marcelino came out at Montilivi with a team with a few changes from the one that beat Sevilla 3-2 last week. Santi Comesaña returned to the starting line-up after his suspension and Traoré came in on the right flank in place of Ilias Akhomach.

The first chance of the game went to Villarreal. The Submarine managed to steal a ball in midfield and launched a counter-attack through Guedes, who opened up on the left flank where Sorloth appeared and, in a shooting position, looked for Guedes again with a powerful pass that the Portuguese striker could not reach.

Villarreal had started the game very well. Symptomatic of this was the ease with which they found their way into the opposition box, where Traoré, with a placed shot from the edge of the area, almost beat Gazzaniga to score one of the goals of the week.

Marcelino’s side looked the better side against a Girona side that didn’t trouble Filip during the first part of the game, but managed to wake up after the half hour mark. Míchel’s side, who had a lot of people in the attacking zone, began to generate danger through the constant runs of Savio and Tsygankov down the flanks who, either with individual moves or looking for Dobvyk, intimidated the yellow defence.

At the end of the first half, Girona and Villarreal went into the changing rooms with the scoreboard deadlocked at 0-0.

The first big chance of the second half for the Yellows came from Jorge Cuenca. In the 52nd minute, the Yellows No.5 went inside the area and, after getting free from his marker with an elegant cut-back, the ball was on his weaker foot with which he failed to make a proper contact and his attempt went wide.

Villarreal grew with the passing of the minutes in the second half and, in the 59th minute, they were rewarded with a goal. Traoré’s fortune smiled on him as, after a clearance from a Girona defender in an attempt to steal the ball from Guedes, he was left with an ideal chance for his left foot, which he sent straight into the back of the net.

Girona weren’t too affected by the goal, as they responded almost immediately with two chances in less than five minutes that almost resulted in an equaliser. Tsygankov, in the first instance, crashed a shot from the edge of the area against the crossbar and later, from a set piece, the Villarreal defence had to clear the ball twice on the goal line. The Catalans tried again and again, but all their attempts came up against the yellow defence, who were excellent from start to finish.

In the end, it was a vital win for the Submarine, who can continue to aspire to the dream of competing in Europe next season.

Villarreal will play their next game this Sunday, when they take on Real Madrid at the Estadio de la Cerámica, kick-off at 7pm CEST. The clash will be the Submarine’s last home game of the 2023/24 season and their penultimate of the season, as they will end their campaign against Osasuna at El Sadar.