Villarreal return from Turkey with a point, which is not bad, especially after going down 2-0 to two goals from Raul Rusescu within two minutes of each other midway through the first half. The first was set up by a maybe-offside-but-very-close run by Vrsajevic down the right wing that caught Villarreal’s defense flat-footed, the second was one of those shots from outside the box that was either a golazo or an error by our keeper, depending on your point of view.
Escribá had set Villarreal up in a 4-1-4-1, though it became more of a 4-4-2 after we went behind. The first half was fairly dreadful, to be honest—we seemed jetlagged or something, lacked intensity—about the only positive we could take away was that we created a few chances in spite of our lackluster play.
HT Osmanlispor 2-0 Villarreal
Although the home side started brightly again after the break, the game turned in the 53rd minute when Mehmet Guven hauled down Alexandre Pato in the box and the referee not only awarded a penalty, but sent off the defender.
Bruno Soriano’s penalty taking really seems to have been affected by the rule change affecting start-stop runups, because he doesn’t seem to have any confidence taking them these days—and sure enough, his shot was pushed away for a corner. However, from the ensuing corner, Alfred N’Diaye, of all people, volleyed the ball home. (In all fairness, he tried a volley in the first half that narrowly missed the top corner).
Alexandre Pato, who was a different player in the second half, equalized with just over 15 minutes to go, Antonio Rukavina getting to the byline and providing a nice assist. At that point it seemed maybe we would be able to press on for all three points, but as it turned out the best chances in the remaining time fell to the home side. Five minutes of extra time came and went, and the scoreboard didn’t change.
FT Osmanlispor 2-2 Villarreal
Zurich drew 1-1 at Steaua Bucharest, and like Villarreal have two home matches of the three remaining. If Villarreal can win their two home matches, they should definitely advance to the round of 32.
Note that Santos Borré picked up a second yellow in three matches so has to sit out the next EL match.