Villarreal got a valuable point against Real Sociedad (1-1) in a tight tie, which was at its most enjoyable during the first half. Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal scored, from the penalty spot, the goals for both teams who have high hopes this season.
It was a game of two high fliers. Real Sociedad and Villarreal CF met at the Reale Arena to take centre stage in a match between two of the revelations of the season. The home side went into the game as league leaders, while the Submarine, third in the table, hoped to beat the Basque side in their own stadium.
Yellows head coach Unai Emery lined up with a starting XI that had made eight changes from the previous UEFA Europa League game on Thursday against Maccabi Tel Aviv (1-1). Only Alfonso Pedraza, Manu Trigueros and Carlos Bacca stayed in the starting lineup.
The match promised excitement, good play and goals. The first goal came early on, and went in Villarreal's favour. In the sixth minute, the referee Jesús Gil Manzano pointed to the spot after a foul commited by Aritz Elustondo on Pervis Estupiñán. The Yellows top scorer, Gerard, stepped up to send Álex Remiro the wrong way.
After the away side's goal, Real Sociedad reacted and Ander Barrenetxea could have equalised. In the 19th minute, the winger had a shot from close range saved brilliantly by Sergio Asenjo.
With half an hour gone, the referee once more blew for a penalty, this time favouring Real Sociedad. It wasn't free of controversy though, as it came from a corner that should have been a goal kick. Despite that, Oyarzabal sent Asenjo the wrong way to equalise.
Late on in the first half, both teams fought for the ball and tried to take control of the game. Both sides put in a 45 minutes full of high-tempo action and goalscoring chances.
The second half was completely distinct. As the game went on, both teams tired, and there weren't any real notable chances, with the game ending in a draw that was a fair result for both sides at the Reale Arena.
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Aritz (Zaldúa, m. 45), Zubeldia, Le Normand, Aihen (Monreal, m. 80); Barrenetxea (Portu, m. 69), Guevara (Zubimendi, m. 69), Merino, López Alcaide; Oyarzabal (Januzaj, m. 80), William José.
Villarreal CF: S. Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, R. Albiol, Pau, Estupiñán; Iborra, M. Trigueros (Coquelin, m. 54), Parejo, Gerard, Bacca (Chukwueze, m. 45), A. Pedraza (Take, m. 74).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 6: Gerard. 1-1. Min. 32: Oyarzabal.
Referee: Gil Manzano. Booked: Aritz, Le Normand, Barrenetxea, Aihen, Zubimendi (Real Sociedad); Pau, R. Albiol, Iborra (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Game between Real Sociedad and Villarreal CF, corresponding to Matchday 11 of the LaLiga Santander 2020/21 season at the Reale Arena.