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Villarreal overcome Levante at the death

Aquino, Manu and Perbet made the winning goal
Aquino, Manu and Perbet made the winning goal
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Levante committed a foul in the 4th minute of the four minutes added. Trigueros swings it in, Perbet heads it emphatically to deposit the ball in the far side of Levante's goal.

Marcelino went crazy with a little "aeroplane" celebration. Joaquin Caparros was livid.

Those in crowd that didnt leave early were rewarded with a hard-fought, at times very scrappy against an opponent who were intent on playing as little football as possible from minute.

The 3 points all but ensure a spot in the early rounds of Europe League. Real Sociedad could only draw with Celta Vigo which means we are a point ahead of them after 33 matches.

This match also happens to be the first time we kept a clean-sheet at home since January (vs. Almeria). As I stated in the past, one big issue we need to fix for next year is our form at home. We let go of too many points at home vs. mediocre teams. A big part of that solution would be to find ways to keep more clean-sheets at home.

Back to this match, Levante set up for a point from minute #1. They had no intention of playing football. Their passing accuracy was in the 50% range which means they misplaced every other pass. It didnt matter much because Villarreal was labouring to break them down and create danger. The key for matches like these is to score first and make the opponent come out of its shell.

We made 2 subs at half-time keeping in mind the ultra-defensive posture of Levante. Trigueros for Pina and Aquino for Oliver Torres. The game changed instantly and we created a lot more in the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half. However, Levante adjusted after the hour mark and we were back to square one. As the game progressed, Levante players spent more time on the grass than on their feet. It was the classic case of "one wanted it badly but couldnt and another didnt even care".

It is normal to see teams waste time in the last 15 minutes or so if they are in lead. Levante have perfected it like a science.

Villarreal kept trying and in the got a just reward, ironically in the last minute of the added time. Aquino was brought down outside the box on the right wing. Trigueros served up a good ball that Perbet had a good finish.

Overall, a very poor first half, slightly better in the second half. For the next season we need to figure out a better way to beat ultra-defensive tactics at home.