What. a. game. What a wonderful game. What a horrible game.
Villarreal picked itself off the mat after the Celta collapse and faced Barcelona at the Ceramica. After going 2-0 down within 15 minutes when the Villarreal “defense” was being picked apart by Barca, the Submarine recovered to go in down 2-1 at the half, took a 4-2 lead with 10 minutes to go, and then......yet again, couldn’t hold it. At least this time we got a point, but two more would have been so wonderful.
With four minutes to go, Alvaro Gonzalez was sent off for a second yellow card, so Villarreal were down to 10 men. A free kick on the stroke of regular time was taken by a certain Leo Messi (who, to be fair, came in on the hour mark). He aimed the kick at Daniele Bonera’s head, Bonera ducked, and the ball went off the post and Asenjo’s outstretched hand.
Three minutes of extra time left, a goal up but a man down—could Villarreal survive? The mood in the directors box was expectant, with Vila-real mayor José Benlloch next to Sr. Roig. Barcelona pressed, a corner was conceded—perhaps needlessly, but I don’t think there was much time to think about anything else—and then the corner was sent long toward the center of the box. Funes Mori and Pedraza went for it, the ball fell to Luis Suarez at the top of the box, and his arrow of a shot—the ball was a rocket that went through Pedraza’s legs and never got more than a few inches off the ground—beat Asenjo at his far post.
Santi Cazorla feel in disbelief to the pitch; Asenjo, still shellshocked, picked him up; Sr. Roig put his hands to his face in the director’s palco. It had all been so close to the first win against Barcelona in over 4000 days—and then it all went away.
Highlights are here.
Ever since I posted that article about La Liga scoring being down, Villarreal’s offense and defense seems to be working hard to improve that goals per game stat, don’t they?
There were some positives, and we have to focus on those:
(1) we didn’t let going down two goals get us down. We came back and played hard.
(2) Attack has improved a lot. Samu Chukwueze, Ekambi are scoring; Bacca came in and scored; Iborra added another goal.
(3) This was not a point we could have expected, so while it is incredibly disappointing to give up two points with the last play of the match (second time that has happened this season, Huesca being the other), at least we did pick up one point.
Yes, the defense is awful and is hanging Asenjo out to dry time after time. Now we lose Alvaro for his red card (I hear some of you thinking that’s a good thing!).
Next up, Betis on Sunday. Endavant Villarreal.