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A win is a win: Villarreal 1-0 Eibar

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There wasn't always a lot of quality football on offer, but Villarreal picked up a very necessary three points with a 1-0 win over Eibar, and managed to rest a number of players ahead of the trip to Austria on Thursday.

Coach Marcelino Toral stuck to his guns, resting some of his key players ahead of next Thursday's Europa League clash and hoping the XI he chose could dispatch Eibar in El Madrigal.

The first 20 minutes or so dominated by the Yellow Submarine, with three good scoring chances.  However, Moi Gomez couldn't put his attempt across goal off a Joel Campbell pass inside the far post, and Gerard Moreno had a similar problem trying to volley home at the near post.  The third chance was  a quick turn and shot from Gerard, trying to fire the ball between the keeper's legs, but Irureta stopped it with his left leg and didn't allow a rebound.

As the half wore on, less and less happened.  Referee Lopez let play flow without any major controversies (only 4 fouls in first half, 2 on each side), and Manu del Moral nearly got to a hopeful long ball, easily outrunning Dorado, but Asenjo was there to cut down the angle.  Other than that, Eric Bailly had to make one sliding clearance of a poor backpass, and that was about all Eibar offered in attack.

HT Villarreal 0-0 Eibar

Villarreal flip-flopped Gio and Joel Campbell, and the Mexican seemed to enjoy that, cutting inside but not able to trouble the keeper with his shot.  Eric Bailly was subbed at the hour mark, maybe for physical reasons or maybe not--he had played very well up to that point.

Vietto and Cheryshev came on for Gerard and Joel Campbell in the 69th minute, and two minutes later Lucky Lucho struck.  He found space at the top of the area and unleashed a quick left-footed shot with some oomph behind it, but keeper Irureta should have saved it--but it squirted beneath him and into the net.

He was able to redeem himself shortly afterward, diving to his left to stop a Moi Gomez bender bound for the top corner. The last 20 minutes of the match more-or-less belonged to Eibar as they had ot go forward and attack, while Villarreal looked to create some counterattacks with Cheryshev and Vietto.  However, the football quality just wasn't good enough, and although Rukavina and Jaume Costa picked up yellow cards, Villarreal remained calm and saw out the match.

Villarreal created a lot of shots--21--though only 6 were on the goal.  Pretty impressive, given that Eibar were basically playing five defenders until they went behind.   Possession stats ended up 61-39% Villarreal and our pass completion percentage was 83%--Jona dos Santos and Sergio Marcos completed nearly 90% of their 160.

FT Villarreal 1-0 Eibar

Man of the match for me was Sergio Marcos, who didn't put a foot wrong and distributed the ball well.  Vietto to be honest didn't do much after scoring, but he didn't have to.

Endavant Villarreal!!