Villarreal suffered a big setback on Saturday, but it wasn’t all bad news.
Quique Setién’s men had been on a run of superb form, defeating Real Sociedad and Real Madrid to return to the top four conversation, but in typical Villarreal style, the slip-up would come against one of the worst teams in the division.
With no disrespect to Valladolid, the Yellows were heavy favourites to defeat the relegation-battling side, but it was the visitors who raced into an early lead.
Selim Amallah scored with just two minutes on the clock, tip-toeing his way through the Yellows’s back line before sending Pepe Reina the wrong way.
Villarreal dominated after that, to their credit, but they failed to take their chances, and with 34 minutes on the clock, Jawad El Yamiq made Aissa Mandi look about as awkward as a centre-back could possibly look, cutting inside before slotting home.
Etienne Capoue did offer Villarreal hope late on, but Valladolid hung on to take all three points, handing Valencia a huge blow in their bid to stay up in the process.
But that’s not the good news we refer to. Athletic Club beat Basque rivals Real Sociedad later on Saturday to ensure La Real didn’t gain any points on Villarreal this weekend.
The gap stays at four, while Real Betis can move one point ahead of Villarreal should they beat Espanyol on Saturday evening.