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Villarreal 1-1 Levante: a draw that resolves nothing?

Did Pedraza save Calleja’s future, and will this goal create momentum for us? Or....

Villarreal CF v Rangers - UEFA Europa League Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

An injury-time goal by Alfonso Pedraza, breaking in on the left after receiving a headed pass from Nicola Sansone, gave Villarreal a 1-1 draw at the Ceramíca today. Levante’s goal was an own goal by Funes Mori off a counterattack, as he sprawled to try to prevent a sure goal.

The first half was very tense and nervy; neither side tested the other’s keeper really, and it was 0-0 at halftime. The second half was much more open and first Levante keeper Oier made a fine save on Samu Chukwueze, then Asenjo made one at the other end to keep things level. Villarreal had chances—Samu and Pedro Fornals both put shots wrong side of the far post with the keeper beaten, Fornals had a header over the bar, and Gerard Moreno managed to fluff a sure chance from a 2-on-1 with Ekambi and the keeper beaten.

Ironically, Villarreal were enjoying perhaps their best stretch of the match when Levante took the lead; Campaña (who might have controlled the ball with his hand; some commentators clearly thought so) went past four Villarreal defenders (including two on yellow cards), passed the ball down the left, and the resulting cross was cleared into his own net by Funes Mori (who had a bit of a mare in the second half, admittedly).

Funes Mori nearly made amends a moment later but shot wide of the right post, and Samu Chukwueze missed on the other side shortly after. But it was a pass from Alvaro, headed on by Sansone and finished off by Pedraza, that gave Villarreal a deserved point. There was still time for Bardhi to have a free kick chance on the stroke of time, but our wall blocked it.

Highlights are here.

MoM: Trigueros

Excellent: Caseres, Chukwueze, Miguelón. And of course Pedraza’s goal.

Worst: Gerard, Jaume Costa. Fornals was meh but playing him on the left was not sensible.

If the team was nervous, the fans were more so. The atmosphere was poor, too many people sitting on their hands and quick to whistle when a player made a mistake. It sure looked like everyone in yellow, on the pitch and off, had given up until Pedraza’s goal.

And so, whither Calleja?


Keep Calleja until the Rayo match at least?

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PS: Valencia and Villarreal combined for 50 shots this weekend (Valencia 27, Villarreal 23) and scored one goal. Their opponents, two from 18.