VIllarreal B won its third consecutive match, this time a 2-0 win over Levante B.
First half: Villarreal were on the offensive for much of the half. Aitor Cantalapiedra on the wing and Edgar Ié marauding from the back were a constant threat, but our two strikers saw little of the ball and play was too clogged in the middle of the pitch. Levante were content to let our midfield run into dead-end spaces, take the ball, and try to counter--that wasn't terribly successful either, but ex-Villarreal B and C player Manu Viana did his best up front to pose us problems.
Cantalapiedra claimed for a penalty and play-by-play man Toni Alegre certainly thought it was, but the referee gave nothing in spite of Aitor's shirt being ripped down the front from the tender attentions of the Levante defender as they wrestled in the box.
Villarreal's best chance of the half came in injury time, but a Carlos Martinez shot was blocked for a corner and though the Levante keeper flapped wildly at the cross and missed it, a defender cleared the ball away from the goal line.
HT Villarreal B 0-0 Levante B
Second half: Edgar Ié went off with a muscle injury seven minutes in--hopefully not serious. One of the talking points of the game came in the 56th minute. Pablo Larrea had received a soft yellow three minutes before, called for (I guess) a high boot on a 50-50 challenge on a goal kick. Evidently the referee had second thoughts too, because when Larrea broke up a dangerous counter by taking down Manu Viana with a challenge clearly deserving of a yellow card, the ref kept his card in his pocket--until Levante protested, and he carded one of their players!
The second turning point came when Leo Suarez came in with about 20 minutes left. Within five minutes he had threaded a perfect pass to an onrushing Carlos Martinez, who slotted home. Four minutes later another perfect Suarez pass was turned past the Levante keeper by defender Shaq; if he hadn't touched the ball, Franco Acosta would have scored for us anyhow.
With a 2-0 lead and 10 minutes left, Levante had to attack from possession for the first time, and while our defensive fragility was in evidence a bit, keeper Ander only had to make one save on the night that I remember, pushing a low shot around the post.
FT Villarreal B 2-0 Levante B
The trajectory of this match was pretty familiar--we controlled play, played at a good tempo, but ultimately didn't create much. The opposition's opportunities, such as they were, mostly came from Villarreal pulling itself out of position by bombing forward from the back too much.
Suarez's introduction (and the earlier one of the more mobile Acosta for Carlos Lopez) turned the tide. It's a good win, ultimately it won't shoot us up the table too much because virtually everyone ahead of us is playing at home this week and should pick up three points--but it moves us farther away from the bottom half of the group.
Next week we are also at home, against an Alcoyano team that will be second in the table regardless of the outcome of their match tomorrow. Endavant mini-submari!