If winning when you're not playing well is the sign of a good team, then Villarreal is very good. The Yellow Submarine took care of a game but ultimately undermanned Sporting Gijon 2-0 today before around 17,000 in El Madrigal.
Villarreal opened the match brightly, but within about ten minutes it was Sporting who took the initiative, with the excellent Alen Halilovic looking very dangerous. Areola had to be alert to keep out a Sanabria header off a corner created by the Croatian, and the ball did enter our goal after about 20 minutes but it came direct off a throw-in and Areola was fouled on the play anyway.
That seemed to wake Villarreal--and me, I have to admit--up a bit and just after Bakambu had headed wide, Villarreal struck on a counter, Bruno dispossessing a Sporting player in midfield, feeding a quick ball to his right, where Soldado, barely on-side took it and then split the defense with a cross to Bakambu at the far post for an easy tap-in.
HT Villarreal 2-0 Sporting Gijón
The match was effectively ended five minutes after the second half restart, when Cedric Bakambu received a long diagonal pass from Roberto Soldado, made space for himself and fired a right-footed shot off the far post and past the stranded Cuellar.
Sporting huffed and puffed and created numerous corners, but Villarreal's defense wasn't really troubled--the lack of cutting edge up front for Sporting was just too obvious. Easy to see why they wanted to sign Borja Viguera. In fact, it wasn't until the 85th minute that we got a corner ourselves.
Leo Baptistao, who had replaced Bakambu, nearly had a third goal in injury time but couldn't beat a sliding defender after rounding the keeper outside the box. That really would have been too much reward for a poor match!
FT Villarreal 2-0 Sporting Gijón
Yet another Villarreal victory where we were outshot (12-7) but actually had more on target (4-2). Possession was about 55% to Sporting, but they could do little with it.
Manu Trigueros, subbed after getting a good whack to his ankle, says he is OK; Jona dos Santos also came out for precautionary reasons, haven't heard from him.
Marcelino said the only thing he liked about today's match was the result. He also pointed out that apart from the match against Alcorcon when we were in the Segunda, we have never played well in early kickoffs. That sums it up pretty well. Still, with 39 points after 19 matches, we equal our team record for the first half of the league. Endavant!