It’s hard to resist the conclusion that Villarreal will go as far as the right foot of Cedric Bakambu can take them. Today he scored both goals in Villarreal’s 2-1 victory over Girona, meaning he’s scored our last five goals and seven of our last eight.
From the start it was clear that Villarreal would attempt to release him with passes from midfield—it nearly worked five minutes in, a pass from Manu Trigueros finding Bakambu down the right but his cross just eluded the onrushing Sansone at the far post.
Four minutes later Trigueros released Bakambu and he trapped the ball nicely, then fired low past Iriazoz in the Girona net. Ten minutes later it was Pablo Fornals who provided the assist, Bakambu running into space and firing high past Gorka this time.
Girona had hardly had a look-in to that point, but after such a bright start, the Submarine found it hard to keep up the momentum, or perhaps Girona got their feet under them a bit. Regardless, the home side started to play better, and Cristian Stuani, who always seems to score against Villarreal, duly did so with a nice backheel at the far post following a corner directed back into the mix, five minutes before the break.
And that was it for the scoring. Girona had 26 shots for the game, but only five on goal. The best chances of the second half came to Girona’s best player on the day, Bernardo Espinosa, who hit the crossbar with a couple of minutes remaining, and Roberto Soriano, who hit the post just before the match ended.
Villarreal’s best players were clearly Bakambu, Fornals and Trigueros; the back line was decent enough, no major mistakes. After so many excellent matches of late, Rodrigo and Samu Casteillejo were a little off, especially Casti. And both Sansone and Bacca (who replaced him just before the hour mark) did a lot. (We did get Cheryshev on for Casti and Soriano for Bakagol as our other subs).
Sr. Calleja will be a bit concerned at the number of shots we allowed and our inability to impose ourselves on the game in the second half. We defended well when we had to, but we didn’t do much to relieve the pressure or create some ourselves.
Villarreal were the better side, but a draw wouldn’t have been that unfair a result....but three points for the Yellow Submarine is an excellent result on the road, and it’s our first win at Montilivi since a Segunda B playoff win in 1992, I think?