It was not pretty. If anything, the game got petty and chippy as it progressed, especially in the 2nd half. Wearing the unfamiliar blue second-kit, Villarreal won this game in unfamiliar fashion, goals (yes, plural) off of corners. Two to be exact. Uche opened the scoring in 7th minute and Bruno doubled the lead in the 37th minute.
I missed the first 10 minutes of the first half as I tried the "It might be better to stay up through the night to 3am rather than sleep and wake up at that hour" trick and failed.
Uche and Perbet started upfront. and what was a very physical game. This game is not our best by a mile but the team was fighting for the lose balls, defending as a unit. Perbet was tracking back often and did not hesitate to make a tackle or two.
Part of it could be how Alcorcon were set-up. A draw would have been a perfect result for them. They tried to stay compact and score off of set pieces and corners using their leading scorer Oriol Riera as the target man. Bruno's goal forced them to abandon their plan A and they went to a more physical and pressing style in the 2nd half.
The referee was very inconsistent (surprise!) and let a lot of contact go without a whistle. There was a point where he gave a yellow for Mellberg for time-wasting (around minute 55) on a freekick instead of a hard and from behind tackle that led to the freekick.
Aquino was repeatedly fouled, no mean feat that the Mexican didnt lose his cool.
Juan Carlos was stellar in the goal, as well as the back four in general. Iñiguez, Mario, Mellberg and Costa played very well.
As the 2nd half progressed, Alcorcón pinned us in our defensive 3rd for sustained spells and their goal can in minute 74 via a header from Sergi Enrich from a cross into the 6 yard box from the right side. Alcorcón pushed harder but with entry of Jony and Manu for Perbet and Cani calmed things down a bit. But still, Alcorcón looked dangerous.
I cant stress enough the 'battling' part of the team. They were not playing their best but they werent giving anything away.
As the clock wound down into added time, Canteros made a solo run past a couple of defenders to score a gorgeous goal that capped his excellent performance throughout the game.
Villarreal still controls its own destiny to finish 2nd and are in 3rd with 65 points (on same points as Almeria and Alrcorcón but with superior GD) and are 2 points behind Girona who they face next Saturday at El Madrigal.
Win against Girona and Villarreal will be 2nd in the table (barring a 5+ goal win by Almeria)
Alcorcón: Manu Fernández; Camille, Abraham, Babin, Rubén Sanz, Oriol Riera, Kike López (Dani Nieto, 55’), Miguélez (Sergi Enrich, 46’), Fernando Sales (Prendes, 73’), Ángel Sánchez & Nagore.
Villarreal: Juan Carlos; Mario, Mellberg, Pablo Íñiguez, Jaume Costa; Aquino, Bruno, Tito Canteros, Cani (Manu Trigueros, 75’); Uche (Marcos Senna, 86’) & Perbet (Jonathan Pereira, 71’).
Men of the match : Everyone