Villarreal has earned a valuable point in the regional derby against Valencia (0-0), in which the Yellows worked hard to secure a point in Mestalla. Up until the derby, Valencia had only conceded a defeat against Barcelona and a draw against Bilbao in their own home. With the point, Marcelino García Toral maintains his lead of five points over seventh placed Málaga in the battle for sixth place, which grants the right to compete in the Europa League during the next season.
It was Villarreal who took control of the match in the first half. Bravely, Marcelino’s men took it upon themselves to withhold Valencia from taking the initiative. The Yellows started pressing high up the pitch, recovered ball possession in midfield and approached Valencia’s penalty area early on.
The 19th minute brought the first real excitement. Jonathan played a free kick from the left side dangerously into the area, but neither Vietto nor Musacchio got a good enough read on the ball to head it in for an early lead. Diego Alves eventually stopped the free kick unconfidently.
Six minutes later, Gerard created just enough space near the edge of the area to put together a shot at goal, but it missed the power necessary to trouble the Brazilian goalkeeper. Thirty minutes in, a play to stop Vietto inside the penalty area resulted in the Argentinian falling to the ground. Even though there was a clear moment of contact between him and the defender, the referee let play continue and warned the striker.
Although the Submarine had control of the game, Valencia didn’t stop showing competitiveness and with regard to their solid defense, denied every chance the visitors had to open the score.
In the second half, Valencia began to create opportunities to take after Asenjo, who had barely touched a ball in the first forty-five minutes. Being aware of their potentiality, Villarreal took a step back without breaking from going after Diego Alves.
The home side had their best chance at scoring in the 69th minute. Asenjo blocked a shot from Rodrigo, before the ball fell in front of Alcácer. However, the central defenders of the Submarine remained calm and robbed the striker of a goal at the last moment.
Even though, ‘Los Che’ tried their hardest to break the tie in the last few minutes, the Submarine secured a point from the derby.
Debut in the Primera División
Villarreal midfielder Alfonso Pedraza has made his debut in the Primera División. Marcelino substituted Jonathan dos Santos in the 72nd minute for the 18 year old. The youngster has gone from playing in the youth to playing in the first team in a little over six months.
Valencia CF: Diego Alves; Barragán, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gayá (Orbán /66); Javi Fuego, Dani Parejo, André Gomes, Feghouli (Rodrigo /64), Piatti; Alcácer (Negredo /77)
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Bailly, Jaume Costa; Jonathan dos Santos (Alfonso /72), Pina, Trigueros, Campbell (Rukavina /63); Gerard Moreno (Giovani /60), Vietto
Yellow Cards: Dani Parejo, Otamendi, Mario, Vietto, Giovani, Bailly and Alfonso
Referee: Mario Melero López
Stadium: Estadio Mestalla