Villarreal took the match to Granada from the outset and trotted to a comfortable 3-0 victory on Friday evening at El Madrigal. Bruno Soriano opened the scoring with his fourth career Primera goal on the half-hour mark, Giovani dos Santos tallied his fourth of the season early in the second half, and Tomás Pina rounded out the evening with his debut goal in yellow (doubling his career Primera ledger). The Yellow Submarine sits third in the table ahead of Real Madrid's visit to Levante -- always a feisty encounter -- and will sleep in the Champions League places for at least another fortnight.
As Villarreal scored three goals to take three points and move up to third place, it is only appropriate to look at the match in thirds. Good timing with the start of hockey season.
First Period: No more slow starts thanks to Marcelino García Toral and his crack coaching staff. Villarreal came out firing and overpowered the nazaríes, with Javier Aquino responsible for sputtering a few nice moves. Not the Mexican midfielder's finest match, but he received plenty of help from his Mexican compatriot and Rubén Cani.
Jony Pereira created and spurned a few chances, as he is wont to do, including a sitter that fell to him from an offside position. Not sure how he scissored wide with the net yawning, but Villarreal would not regret the miss for long.
The talismanic Cani created the opening tally, and Bruno finished in style. The ex-Zaragoza midfielder worked some space on the edge of the box with the Granada defense collapsing. A late run beckoned, and Vicente del Bosque's favorite midfielder was at the ready. Cani laid the ball onto Bruno's left foot, and the captain drove a shot to the near post that left Granada keeper Roberto with no chance. 1-0 on 30'.
Second Period: Villarreal showed no letup after the goal. But Jony and Aquino spurned more chances, keeping Granada in the match on the scoreboard. 1-0 at halftime; a second goal seemed likely to end the visitors' resistance.
That tally came just four minutes after the restart. Another burst down the left from Jony found the diminutive striker in space with two targets rushing into the box. It looked as if Jony's cross was destined for Roberto's arms, with Aquino wide open to boot. But a touch of class from Gio's outstretched foot beat the Granada keeper, and El Madrigal erupted for a second time. 2-0 on 49'.
Third Period: Granada made a double change right before the hour mark, bringing on Ighalo and old man Riki up front. The visitors then threatened on a couple of occasions, but Sergio Asenjo was worked only once on the night. Moi Gómez made his season debut in place of Aquino, then Jérémy Perbet replaced the active Jony.
Villarreal was not done shattering Granada's early-season defensive prowess. Cani again created a pocket of space on the edge of the box and dropped a perfect ball on the head of an advancing attacker. This time it was Pina, whose header went straight at the Granada keeper, but Roberto could not keep it out at close range. 3-0 on 82'.
Manu Trigueros then replaced Pina, who received a nice ovation, and the home side finished the match on the front foot. Aquino and Gio both suffered knocks, but no reason to think they will be worse for wear.
An excellent performance against a capable Granada side that had conceded only five goals in seven matches. Make it eight in eight. Enjoy the international break, everyone.