For the second straight match, Villarreal had a defender sent off for a second bookable offense, and for the second match in a row, a late goal gave our opponents all three points. Given the way the match went for the first half-hour, it's hard to believe the Submarine couldn't take the lead, but despite attrsactive play and several good chances created, the match was still scoreless at it neared halftime.
Celta took the lead though through a magnificent curling shot from Fabian Orellana in the 41st minute--he found space in front of our back four and scored an absolute golazo. And Celta could have gone farther ahead before halftime as Villarreal seemed to be knocked back on their heels, but first Areola and then the post denied them.
HT Villarreal 0-1 Celta Vigo
Eric Bailly may be the greatest prospect ever (orient1 earlier this week) but he has to learn to play with intelligence. He'd already received a yellow card, and in the 47th minute he committed a deliberate handball--no argument that this was a second bookable offense. So now we were down a goal and down a man.
To Villarreal's credit, they pulled even through a deflected shot from Denis Suarez in the 67th minute, but the Celta attacking trio of Orellana, Aspas and Nolito were just finding it too easy to get into space and create excellent chances. Aspas fluffed an excellent chance on the hour mark, Areola made a couple of key saves, and it looked as though we might escape with a point.
But then in the 90th minute Orellana found room to try another specuative shot from outside the box--it crashed against the right top corner of the goal and rebounded to Nolito, who fired it home. A tough loss to take.
FT Villarreal 1-2 Celta Vigo
That front three for Celta was just too much, especially in the second half with a makeshift defense (Mario moved to CB and Rukavina came on to play RB after Bailly's expulsion), and with no Bruno Soriano in midfield for us.
Still seems to me Marcelino is trying to find his best combination; he started Samu Garcia and Nahuel, neither of whom were effective. Denis Suarez got the goal, but would have been nice if we could have brought in a player with more defensive skills at that point to save a point, maybe? Well, hindsight is always 20-20.
An attractive match, a pity so few of us got to see it. Villarreal are now 5th, and now we have a home match on Thursday in the Europa League followed by a trip to the Canary Islands to play Las Palmas. We'll get to wear our second kit! Endavant.