The team led by Tena put in a solid performance in a difficult venue
Villarreal lost to Atlético de Madrid (3-1) on their visit to the Cívitas Metropolitano. The Yellows, coached by Miguel Ángel Tena, played a serious game, in which they took the lead and competed without fear against a very strong opponent and in a very difficult setting. Up until Sorloth’s injury in the first half, the visitors were even superior to the home side.
The Submarine arrived at the Cívitas Metropolitano with a new man on the bench. Following the dismissal of Pacheta, Miguel Ángel Tena, Villarreal CF’s director of football, took over as interim coach pending the arrival of a new manager.
Villarreal got off to a fantastic start. Tena’s team looked to come out with the ball from their own area, trying to attract the Atlético de Madrid press. The visitors were playing with excellent time management, making the hosts desperate.
Fulfilling the game plan to perfection, at the quarter of an hour mark, Yeremy had the first chance for Villarreal. The winger received a pass from Gerard inside the box and, without thinking, launched a powerful shot that Oblak was able to stop in two stages.
Villarreal were rewarded for their good start with a goal from Gerard Moreno. The Catalan striker latched onto Oblak’s rebound and sent the ball into the back of the net with a powerful shot. 0-1 at the Cívitas. The Yellows’ goal came from a fantastic quick transition: Baena gave space to Sorloth, who played in and saw Alberto cut inside from the left before unleashing a powerful volley. Oblak’s rebound fell to the Yellows No.7, who scored to make it 0-1 at the Cívitas.
The lead, fantastic though it was, was not enough for Villarreal, who had found a way to do damage with those quick transitions. The positioning of the players on the pitch was superb and the Submarine did not give up the attack. Before the half-hour mark, Sorloth could have made it 0-2, but he came up against a superb save from Oblak, who came up trumps in a one-on-one battle with the Norwegian giant.
In the last stretch of the first half, the Yellows’ luck turned for the worse. After a run into space, Sorloth fell to the ground. The Villarreal No.11 could not continue. He was replaced by Ramon Terrats before he had even warmed up. Later, almost on the verge of half-time, Atlético equalised through Witsel. The Belgian defender sent Antoine Griezmann’s delivery from the wing into the net. With the score at 1-1, the game went to the break.
The first minutes of the second half were difficult to play for Villarreal. Atleti made their home advantage count and began to press in their opponents’ half. On two occasions Morata could have made it 2-1 with two very dangerous headers that did not find Jorgensen’s goal.
From the 65th minute onwards, Tena’s team grew from having possession. Little by little, they were able to get away from the suffocating press of the hosts and gained more presence in the opposition half. Despite this, they were unable to create any dangerous chances, while Atlético de Madrid did find a way to score. In the 80th minute, Griezmann turned the game around at the Cívitas.
Shortly after conceding the second goal, came the third goal for the home side. This time it came from Samuel Lino. With 3-1, the match at the Cívitas Metropolitano came to an end with no reward for Villarreal, who took the lead and came close to earning at least a point on their visit to Madrid.
Atlético de Madrid: Oblak; Molina (Barrios, m. 70), J. M. Giménez, Witsel, M. Hermoso, Riquelme (S. Lino, m. 65); Saúl (M. Llorente, m. 46), Koke, R. De Paul (Correa, m. 65); Griezmann, Morata (Soyuncu, m. 88).
Villarreal CF: Jorgensen; A. Alti, R. Albiol, J. Cuenca, Alberto M. (Brereton Díaz, m. 83); Yeremy (I. Akhomach, m. 46), Capoue, Parejo, Álex B. (C. Romero, m. 74); Gerard, Sorloth (R. Terrats, m. 36).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 20: Gerard. 1-1. Min. 45. Witsel. 2-1. Min. 80: Griezmann. 3-1. Min. 85: S. Lino.
Referee: Hernández Maeso. Booked: Capoue, I. Akhomach (Villarreal CF).
Matchday information: Game between Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal CF, corresponding to Matchday 14 of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA Sports season at the Civitas Metropolitano. Attendance: 56,632.