Villarreal defeated Malaga today 2-1 to close out our home campaign on a high note. The first half was awfully tepid stuff, more reminiscent of a pre-season friendly than anything else. There were very few chances, and the half pretty much could be summed up by the play when Gio dos Santos, knowing he was offside even though the linesman's flag was down, just tapped the ball to Kameni rather than trying to score.
HT Villarreal 0-0 Malaga
Malaga controlled most of the play in the second half as well, with Amrabat pretty much running things. Villarreal's counters were typically broken up by physical tackles on Vietto or Gio, and the match looked as though it was going to peter out into a goalless draw.
But remember, matches involving these clubs tend to feature late goals, especially in El Madrigal, and this happened again this time. A Villarreal counter in the 82nd minute saw Rukavina breaking away down the right. Vietto took two men with him and the ball ran across him to a wide-open Gerard Moreno (who had replaced Gio 10 minutes before). A goal-poacher's goal.
Five minutes later, another opportune Gerard goal; this time Malaga keeper Kameni underhit his pass, it went straight to gerard, who chipped the keeper as he went down. 2-0, and perhaps Villarreal relaxed a bit too much because on the stroke of 90 minutes Malaga pulled one back with a Sergi Darder header.
The boquerones tried desparately to get the equalizer but Villarreal defended well enough and celebrated their win, giving us 60 points, one more than last season.
Man of the match: Has to be Gerard, doesn't it!