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Villarreal spoil Atleti's title chances with goalless draw

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It isn't exactly revenge for that Falcao goal that put us down several years back, but it is revenge of a kind, as Atleti's way to the title is hard with an eight-point deficit to make up.

Villarreal and Atletico Madrid played to a 0-0 draw at the Calderon today, a result which the Submarine can be quite happy with, especially given they were able to rest some regulars ahead of the trip to Napoli.

Marcelino set out his lineup to keep things tight, with Rukavina taking the place of Jonathan dos Santos on right wing, Pina and Bruno in the middle, and a back for of Eric Bailly, Victor Ruiz, Daniele Bonera and Mario Gaspar, with Soldado and Bakambu starting up front.

The 4-4-2's pretty much canceled each other out.  Maybe Saul should have been called for a penalty on Samu Castillejo early on, but who ever gets a penalty called against them at home in the second minute of a match?  Other than that, Villarreal's best chance in the first half fell to Daniele Bonera off a corner, but he couldn't keep his shot down.  Atleti had a couple of half-chances, the best a Griezmann header that went wide of Areola's far post.

The second half was more of the same, with the best chances for each side coming around the hour mark--Soldado fed Bakambu and he was 1-on-1 with Oblak, but hurried his shot and put it well wide.  At the other end, Areola had to be alert to push a clever chip over the top.

As the match went on Villarreal seemed the better of the two sides but there really wasn't a goal in this one.  Villarreal remain eight points ahead of Sevilla in the race for fourth, Atletico Madrid are now eight points behind Barcelona in the race for first.