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Villarreal celebrate their birthday in style with a smash-and-grab raid at Levante

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90 scoreless minutes , then....pam!! pam!!

We win!!!
Villarreal CF

Villarreal are, at least for now, out of the relegation zone following a thrilling 2-0 win at Levante with both goals scored in injury time. (The team was founded March 10, 1923, so today is its 96th birthday.)

Highlights here (though they don’t include the Levante goal that was waved off).

Key talking points:

(1) Levante had a goal ruled out just before the half-hour mark. It was a play where one player clearly was in an offside position, but the ball didn’t come to him at first, then when it did he passed to Morales—who apparently was adjudged to be offside at that point. (Morales passed back to Rochina who beat Asenjo from the top of the box). It took over three minutes for the VAR folks to decide it was not a goal—too long.

(2) Apart from that, Asenjo was on point, after a subpar game against Alavés. Levante got through our midfield too easily, but didn’t bring their shooting boots.

(3) Let’s hope Alfonso Pedraza is OK—he suffered at least a very nasty gash in a collision with Cabaco and Aitor.

(4) Full credit to coach Calleja for his subs today. One was forced (Miguelon for Pedraza) but it worked out, as flipping Jaume Costa from the right to his usual left side, with Miguelon in support on the right, produced some good attacks late on.

(5) Samu Chukwueze’s goal to end the match was tremendous, but bringing him on for Gerard was a good thing anyway. We needed someone who could run at and disrupt their defense—Toko Ekambi had to do too much by himself until then.

(6) Finally, watching Santi Cazorla and Ruben Rochina play in midfield was about as great as it gets. Passing, deft touches....all there.

(7) We do recover Alvaro next Sunday, but Mario is suspended now with his 10th card. Funes Mori is one away from a suspension.

Valencian premier Ximo Puig was on hand to watch this one, and so were about 1000 Villarreal supporters, who went home happy!