It just seems to get worse and worse for Villarreal. Drawn away to Huesca in the Copa del Rey, Villarreal went down to a 3-2 defeat in the first leg--if the RFEF had any cojones, we wouldn't have this two-legged nonsense to contend with and Villarreal would be out. As it is, we only need to win 1-0 in El Madrigal in two weeks' time to make it to the next round, but the way we played today, that could be beyond us.
Marcelino trotted out another interesting lineup, with Mateo Musacchio making his long-awaited return at center back and a debut to right back Miguelón, with Nahuel, Samu Castellejo, Jonathan dos Santos and Manu Trigueros in midfield and Samuel Garcia and Cedric Bakambu up top.
Within two minutes Villarreal were behind. Luis Fernandez chested down a free kick that glanced off a Villarreal head and had time to shoot past Barbosa. And the remainder of the first half was scarcely better; Villarreal's "attack" lacked any sort of confidence going forward, and Huesca could have gone ahead 2-0 but for a diving clearance from Mateo Musacchio.
HT Huesca 1-0 Villarreal
The second half began better for Villarreal, and after six minutes we got a stroke of luck when what I think was a pretty speculative cross from Nahuel curled just inside the far post to level the score. Incredibly, within a minute Villarreal were behind again, due to a penalty call that was pretty dodgy in my book. Barbosa guessed correctly but couldn't keep the penalty out.
Villarreal fought back and equalized within five minutes, a route-one goal with Jona dos Santos passing to Manu Trigueros, who slotted the ball to Bakambu who put it home.
For whatever reason, Marcelino subbed two of those players--Jona and Bakambu--on the hour mark, bringing on Soldado and Bruno. Villarreal had chances to add to the lead, with Castillejo and Nahuel both denied by the keeper, and a Samu Garcia effort was ruled out for offside.
Villarreal pushed forward in search of a winner but incredibly with 15 minutes left Huesca took the lead, off another free kick that bounced around in the box, Machis volleying home over Barbosa. The remaining time was an exercise in futility for Villarreal and featured yet another injury--Miguelon, who had played decently enough, coming up with a cramps just before normal time ended, but fortunately he says it's nothing serious.
Huesca had a man sent off for a cynical tackle on Nahuel in injury time but it didn't matter.
FT Huesca 3-2 Villarreal
Villarreal's defense was a shambles today, especially Eric Bailly, who should have been sent off for a couple of reckless challenges when already on a yellow and made a number of errors today. He and Jokic were poor, Musacchio couldn't cover for everyone. Miguelon was game enough but didn't really make that much of an impact one way or the other.
As for the attack, our lack of confidence is plain to see--or perhaps I should say lack of ideas. Castillejo tries to take on too many players far too often, Nahuel (apart from his lucky goal) seemed overwhelmed again, and we struggled to impose ourselves in midfield the way we should against a second-division team, for goodness' sake.
Highlights are here, if you dare. Disappointing too that after the match our players didn't at least applaud the fans who came to see them in freezing weather. A poor finish to the day.
Sunday AM kickoff at home against Rayo, we'd better make sure our defense is stronger for this one as they are never afraid of attacking on the road. Lose this one and we start tumbling down the table and away from European places big-time.