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Two goals from free kicks in the first half, none in the second. Villarreal 1 Huesca 1.
This will be a quick recap as I was already feeling under the weather, and watching this game didn't help matters.
Villarreal gave a start to Tito Canteros alongside Senna in midfield. The opening exchanges were pretty much tit-for-tat but already Huesca's Camacho displayed an annoying penchant for going to ground at every opportunity and winning free kicks. However, it was a Villarreal free kick that resulted in a goal, as Marcos Senna curled a magnificent floater just off the inside of the far post and past an astonished keeper who never had a chance.
That happened in the 11th minute, but after that not much happened. Until, half an hour gone, the ref rewarded another Huesca dive with a free kick, it was well taken and David Lopez rose to head home, off balance but a powerful header even so.
Frankly we didn't deserve to lead at the half, I didn't think--we had occasional problems passing the ball out of our own end and we hardly ever got it to anyone in the final third of the pitch who had room to operate. Mario and Cani seemed to always have three players on the two of them down the right, and Trigueros was curiously quiet.
Before halftime our coach had Toribio warming up, not the sub you make to change the game so I expected someone was injured and he would come on after halftime.
HT Villarreal 1-1 Huesca
Toribio came on for Canteros. I thought the Argentinian did some OK things (including the best cross of the half) but he did drift out of the play after about 30 minutes--some sort of injury? Anyway, things did improve some because Villarreal did manage a couple of excellent chances. Bordas had the goal at his mercy on 53 minutes but spooned well over (sigh) and an hour in came heartbreak. Cani played an excellent ball to Cavenaghi--I thought it was a bit behind him but Cavegol got his head to it and snapped off a magnificent header that careened off the crossbar with the keeper stranded.
But truth to tell, that was about it as far as real chances were concerned. Huesca didn't offer much either, and as for the referee....well, he managed to give a goal kick on a Pandiani shot that went out of bounds off the goalpost, so I guess that tells you all you need to know. El Rifle came on for Bordas, thankfully, but apart from that incident, and picking up a yellow for an elbow to the head on an aerial challenge, had little to do.
I was wondering who our third change would be, and didn't expect Pablo Gonzalez for Cani. For once I thought Cani played pretty well, on another day he could have had an assist or two. Trigueros was much better in the second half but our opponents just collapsed the passing lanes further as the game went on. Yet again, we huffed and we puffed, but....
FT Villarreal 1-1 Huesca
Well, a mediocre performance was rewarded with a mediocre result. At least we got some shots in the second half, but while we made some nice runs down the wings the final ball or killer pass just wasn't there. Huesca weren't bad, but when you play a lower mid-table team at home, you need to beat them.
Depending on results tomorrow, we will either be second or third, but we really needed to win this one to keep El Madrigal a fortress and get the fans excited. Instead we had crowd shots of people falling asleep or shaking their heads. Not quite the result we wanted.
Hard to pick a MOTM today. I suppose Senna, Cani and Mellberg were my three best players on the day, but really everyone lacked the ability to pick it up a gear and force the play in the box.