Simply incredible, unbelieveable, and unjust. A makeshift Villarreal side did its best to at least draw 0-0 with Atletico Madrid, but a defensive error led to the only goal of the match for the visitors.
Villarreal's makeshift lineup, with Costa and Rukavina, two defenders, playing on the wings, actually created the best chance of the first half, but first Oblak palmed Victor Ruiz's header away and then Diego Godin blocked Gerard Moreno's followup off the line. Atleti looked dangerous early on through Mandukic and Griezmann, but as the match continued it was Villarreal who took control of midfield.
Villarreal 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Moi Gomez came on for Rukavina at halftime; the best player on the pitch, as in the first half, was Joel Campbell, whose constant runs at the Atleti defense produced yellow cards, but little else. Atleti offered nothing in attack, and it was no surprise when Simeone brought in Saul and Torres for Mandukic and Arda Turan with just under 30 minutes left. Villarreal were looking the better side, but then disaster struck.
Pina and Torres clashed for a ball inside the Atleti half (Pina held his cheek after the contact, but didn't argue for a foul); the ball went back to Manu Trigueros, who passed it back to Eric Bailly, on the halfway line. However, Torres had run after the ball and when Eric misjudged the bounce, Nando pounced. Even then the dventure wasn't over--he rounded Asenjo's despairing dive (he nearly got fingertips to the ball), had to evade the run of Bailly again, as well as put the ball past a sliding Victor Ruiz into the goal. The only good thing from Villarreal's standpoint was Ruiz didn't stop theball with his hand and get red-carded.
El Madrigal couldn't believe it, and it got worse with five minutes to go when Sergio Asenjo leaped for a cross, came down awkwardly and injured his knee. He was able to walk off under his own power, so hopefully it was only hyperextended.
Villarreal had a couple of chances to score in injury time, Mario Gaspar directing a cross from Jokic over the bar and then a Jaume Costa shot being deflected wide. At the end, 18000+ in El Madrigal were left shaking their heads, though applauding the effort.
FT Villarreal 0-1 Atletico Madrid
And so, our scoreless streak continues. Hopefully we get Vietto, Gio, or Uche back on Saturday against Depor. To be honest, if we can pick up six more points (wins against Malaga and Depor would do nicely, or even Elche) I don't think we'll remember this match--that is, if Asenjo is OK.
Joel Campbell had his best match in yellow, but we really needed a Vietto or Gio on the pitch with him. For those who carped about Moi not starting, he didn't really add a lot for me when he was in there. We do get Jonathan dos Santos back next week, and amazingly we had no yellow cards, so no new suspensions.
Marce will need to pick up Eric Bailly--you could see he was really upset at his mistake, and lost concentration a couple of times after that. But, on we go. This season can't end soon enough, but at least the clubs chasing us for sixth aren't playing well either. Endavant!