Villarreal were a pale shade of the team that played so confidently earlier this season, losing at home to Athletic Bilbao for the first time in fifteen years. As if losing 3-1 to a team that hadn’t scored in its last four away matches wasn’t bad enough, the Submarine was beset with physical problems.
Pablo Fornals had to leave the game after only eight minutes due to a fainting spell. He’s in a Castellón hospital for observation and tests; early reports were maybe low blood sugar, but he is also one of the players in the side who ahs come down with a gastrointestinal bug.
Daniele Bonera was substituted at halftime for the same reason, Victor Ruiz was dropped from the squad in favor of Pau Torres for the same cause.
As for the match itself, Iñigo Cordoba opened the scoring after only four minutes, courtesy of a De Marcos through ball to Iñaki Williams who passed to Cordoba. Williams, whose pace continually pulled the Villarreal backline out of position, added a second six minutes after halftime. Watching the replay there was clearly offside in the buildup, but it wasn’t called. Carlos Bacca pulled one back for the Submarine on 67 minutes, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Jaume Costa was injured and had to come off. With an extra man, Iker Muinain, coming on as a sub for the first time since his knee injury, put away a deflected cross for Bilbao’s third goal, while the tired and dejected Villarreal defense simply watched.
Man of the match—in spite of the score—was clearly Sergio Asenjo.
Goals, if you can bear to watch, are here: