Villarreal came away with three points from the Anoeta in a classic smash-and-grab routine, with a goal in the last minute of injury time. The first half was not terribly inspiring for either side; at halftime Coach Escribá brought on Rodrigo Hernandez for Manu Trigueros, and that change gave us more control in midfield.
Both teams had chances to score in a more open and exciting second stanza—Cedric Bakambu, who can’t seem to buy a goal these days, failed to capitalize on the keeper’s error, and Carlos Vela had a big-time miss at the other end. Villarreal’s best chance to score looked to have gone when with 15 minutes left Bruno hit the crossbar and Musacchio blazed the rebound over. But as the clock woound down in the last minute of injury time, Jaume Costa feinted past Carlos Vela on the left, put a cross into the box that Samu Castillejo, making a perfect run late into the box, got to, and his blast gave Rulli no chance. A final 1-0 to Villarreal.
With this win, we pull within two points of La Real in the race for fifth, and six behind Atleti for fourth. Next week Villarreal host Real Madrid, and Atleti host Barcelona, while La Real have a tough away trip to Las Palmas (though the islanders have been in poor form of late).
Credit to Escribá today—his substitutions worked out very well. We were perhaps fortunate the home side left their shooting boots in the closet—16 shots, none on target—how often does that happen? while we had only 7 shots, but 3 on target, and one of those whistled into the net. Still, we’ll take it! Endavant!!