Gerard Moreno is heroic once again as Villarreal beat Red Bull Salzburg. With his head bandaged from one of dozens of collisions in today’s match, he stepped up to the penalty spot and dispatched Jesse Marsch’s side out of European competition. The visitors took an early lead on a horrific Rulli pass out from the back but a stroke of genius by Manu, Paco, and Gerard leveled things again before half. The Austrian side played like they had all drunk Red Bull has they sped around the pitch wantonly hacking down anyone in yellow they saw.
Top performer today was Gerard, I also have to give credit to Parejo who had some lovely switches of play. Trigueros was very quiet early but was absolutely sublime any time he got the ball in central areas. Paco did a good job dropping in to help with defense and possession and got himself an assist on the night.
The defensive performances of Estupinan and Capoue were both particularly noteworthy, with the new signings coming up big for Villarreal on the European stage. Jaume Costa had a vintage ‘battler’ performance, and displayed much more positional awareness than Foyth usually does in the right back role.
It wasn’t the best match for Pedraza. I am personally not convinced by him in the left midfield role and I won’t be too hard on him because he was out of position, but we’ve seen him do better. Albiol and Pau were generally solid in defense as always, with Albiol in particular coming up with some big headers down the stretch.
I don’t want to leave Rulli too far out in the cold here. His mistake was bad and he was a bit nervy for a lot of the second half but he kept them from scoring any further goals and we got the win, so as far as I’m concerned all is forgiven.
Moi and Samu looked bright off the bench, clearly having more energy than the Salzburg players who were by then lagging, none of the other subs gave me any reason to complain.
Our man Emery has done it in Europa once again. We’ll see who we draw and if he can continue his incredible record in this competition. Good day to be a groguet. Endavant!