Villarreal beat Espanyol with goals by Soriano and Bakambu and establish themselves that bit more in the European spots. The Yellows got better and better as the game went on and picked up three very important points against a direct rival in the table. Fran Escribá’s side got their second consecutive league win and have only lost one of their last seven LaLiga Santander fixtures.
The match started off franticly. The Submarine almost took the lead just a few seconds in. Soldado played a fantastic through ball to Bakambu, but the number 17’s shot was too central and an easy one for Diego López to save.
The Yellows dominated from the start, while the Catalonian side opted to look for an opening on the counterattack. As the minutes passed Villarreal upped the intensity. Soldado had a clear chance from an indirect free kick in the box, but his effort was blocked by the Espanyol wall on the goal line (m. 26) and then Soriano put Diego López to the test once more after some extraordinary play by the Submarine.
It seemed like the Yellows would open the scoring any minute, but it was the locals who almost made it 0-1. A counterattack started by Gerard Moreno was finished off with a driven cross by Piatti and a shot at point-blank range by Jurado, however a spectacular save by Andrés Fernández kept the score line at 0-0.
The Yellows took the lead through Roberto Soriano just before the break. Mario pulled the ball back in the box and the Yellows number 20 scored hit it into the net with his knee. Not the prettiest of finishes, but hugely important.
Throughout the second half, the Submarine showed how solid they are. Strong at the back, the Yellows knocked the ball around flawlessly. Espanyol, on the other hand, pressed forward in search of a goal that would never come.
The match was then sentenced by that man Cédric Bakambu. Trigueros hit a bullet of a shot from the edge of the box that required Diego López to make a stretching save, but the rebound fell to the feet of the Yellows number 17 and he fired the ball into the nearside bottom corner. 'BA-KAM-BU' was the chant that filled the Estadio de la Cerámica. The more than 17,000 spectators in the stands ended up doing the Mexican wave to see out the match. A worthy win.
Villarreal CF: Andrés Fernández; Mario, Álvaro, Víctor Ruiz, Jaume Costa; Samu Castillejo, Bruno, Trigueros, Soriano (Rodrigo, m. 71); Bakambu (Santos Borré, m. 87) and Soldado (Jonathan dos Santos, m. 62).
RCD Espanyol: Diego López; Javi López (Hernán Pérez, m. 75), Óscar Duarte, Diego Reyes, Aarón; Melendo, David López, Marc Roca (Diop, m. 83), Piatti (Caicedo, m. 55); Jurado and Gerard Moreno.
Goals: 0-1. Min. 44: Soriano. 2-0. Min. 79: Bakambu.
Referee: De Burgos Bengoetxea (Basque Country, Spain). Cautioned: Jaume Costa and Álvaro for Villarreal; Diego López and Óscar Duarte for the visitors.
Match Information: Match corresponding to the LaLiga Santander Matchday 26 played at the Estadio de la Cerámica in front of 17,315 spectators.