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Villarreal 1-0 Granada: Nothing Comes Easy These Days

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Villarreal don't score from open play, but they didn't need to: an early second-half penalty was all Villarreal needed to defeat Granada and go (at least temporarily) 10 points clear of the field in the chase for fourth place.

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Villarreal didn't impress much on offense, but the defense held firm and Bruno Soriano converted a penalty to give the Submarine all three points today.

Granada got an advantage early when Jaume Costa was carded for grabbing the arm of Isaac Success as he tried to get past him in midfield; this meant the young Nigerian was pretty much free to be Granada's main outlet anytime they got the ball.   Villarreal dominated possession in the first half, but apart from a couple of excellent Andres Fernandez saves on Roberto Soldado within seconds of one another, Villarreal couldn't create too much.  Success could have scored at the other end, but put his shot wide with only Areola to beat.

HT Villarreal 0-0 Granada

The second half was much more a 50-50 possession affair, and for the first ten minutes Villarreal were back on their heels a bit.  However, in the 55th minute defender Babin was adjudged to have pulled back Soldado in the box (rather like that early card on Costa, strangely enough) and referee Carlos del Cerro Grande pointed to the spot.  Bruno Soriano did his trademark runup with a bit of a hitch in it, Andres dived to his right, and Bruno put his shot just inside the other post.

Villarreal never really threatened to add a second goal; Granada conceded eight corners but Villarreal only came close to scoring from one of them, a Bakambu shot at the far post parried away by Andrés.   But as the half wore on, the shortcomings of Granada were evident:  Success has speed, but not much accuracy in passing or shooting, and El-Arabi (and David Barral, when he came on) were just too isolated.  I'm not sure Barral ever touched the ball, to be honest.  Even a couple of free kicks from the wing failed to produce anything.  It was as comfortable a 1-0 win as I've seen in a while.

FT Villarreal 1-0 Granada

An off-day for Villarreal, and a penalty that not all Submarine fans were that sure about.  Three points is, however, three big points.  The defense looked good today--Areola had very little to do, especially in the second half. Another grind 'em out win.

Stats: 12 shots (6 on target) to 7 (2 on target); 8 corners to zero(!).

Whoscored has Bruno as their MoM; you can vote for yours below.  Endavant Villarreal!