Villarreal looked the stronger side in the first 10 minutes. 9 minutes in Gerard with a beautiful through ball found Fer Nino. The Andalusian shot on goal was saved by a flying Simon
12 minutes later Nino found himself through on goal and was brought down by the Athletic keeper. VAR reviewed the decision and it was deemed Simon had caught the ball before the player.
The Basques began to take control of the game. Inaki Williams with a beautiful through run caught Juan Foyth napping. He took the ball around Albiol and slotted the ball through Asenjo’s legs.
24 minutes further disaster struck for Villarreal. Captain Mario Gaspar was subbed after falling heavily on his right knee. Emery will be concerned as the injury list continues to grow.
Athletic were the stronger side going to end of the second half. 44 minutes in Asenjo pulled of a beautiful save after Vesga latched onto a cross and headed ball towards the Villarreal net.
Second half Villarreal came out looking like they were up for a fight. Pedraza had been told to be more attacking this opened up the left hand side for the yellow submarine.
49 minutes in Gerard from the right send a beautiful pass through to the Athletic box. Nino latched on to the pass and it was saved by the knee Simon. Moreno was clearly looking to increase his assist tally. 53 minutes he curled the ball into Pedraza who sent a beautiful shot towards the goal only hit the side netting.
74 minutes Yeremi Pino became the hero of the game. The ball was crossed into the box. Trigueros with a simple header flicked the ball onto Pino. The Spaniard sent a beautiful volley into the top right hand corner to make it 1-1.
Athletic continued to press throughout the game but to no avail. Despite conceding an early goal Villarreal were strong defencively and deserved the point. Final score 1-1 and a partridge in a pear tree at Estadio de la Cerámica. Feliz Navidad to one and all.