Villarreal defeated Athletic Club by two goals to nil, with goals scored by Cazorla and…
Villarreal defeated Athletic Club by two goals to nil, with goals scored by Cazorla and Mati Fernandez in the final stages of the second half. Our team played a more than decent match, but having a dangerous rival under control was not enough and in the end the small details, including the quality of the opponent, have been decisive. What’s worse is the balance of players who will not be able to play against Mallorca due to cards, unless an appeal for reversal is presented and subsequently accepted, specifically Amorebieta and Susaeta. Awaiting the rest of the day’s results, be what they may, it is evident that Athletic must urgently start adding points in an attempt to not have a tighter end of season than expected.
The hosts came in ready to play the script and carry the weight of the clash. For this, Pellegrini lined-up a team with players of short stature, but great quality and ball control, so as to generate danger on inside balls behind the defence. In spite of achieving this occasionally, like in the minute 7, with a one-on-one that Iraizoz busted for Nihat, Athletic Club was, little by little, accumulating possession and the game went to being played in both areas. After a shot by Susaeta which Diego Lopez caught with ease, Rossi, who had an off day yesterday, shot a wide cross in the minute 13 and shortly after, Gabilondo made Lopez formulate one of the great saves of this cold night. The keeper had it a little easier in ‘biting’ shot on goal by Toquero in the minute 17 after Iraola’s back-pass.
The local’s response, until the break, has been a play that ended in goal, previously invalidated because Capdevila was offside in the minute twenty. Also, Godin finished off with a header coming from a corner creating certain danger in the minute 32. Our team threatened on a couple of occasions with crosses without strikers, but the clearest attempt has been a shot by Javi Martinez that Godin intercepted with his hand in the minute 40, with the infraction by the same player being less evident in the later shot on goal. The interpretation of the play opens a range of possibilities and to analyse them it’s been more than proven, week after week, that hundreds of experts exist.
In the second half, the initiative has been rojiblanca and we could see that, if they were more accurate, the prize could arrive; however, on the other hand, the hosts managed to intimidate in isolated but very risky plays for the integrity of Athletic’s goal. That’s what happened when Rossi shot high in the 53 or when Nihat shot wide in the 58. At the same time Garmendia replaced Toquero at the hour of play, Susaeta barely missed wide with his left and Eguren saw a yellow card in a jump with Gabilondo. The interpretation of the play opens passage to an enormous number of options when it comes to sanctioning and to judge it in its right term it is overly demonstrated than there are experts on the matter.
Shortly after Joseba Llorente, who appears quite motivated when he plays against Athletic, came in for Nihat because of the difficulties his team was having when trying to reach the front and perhaps to create more direct soccer. It is not possible to evaluate the value of the substitution, pardon the redundancy, since Villarreal soon had the advantage, after an attempt by Eguren blocked by Iraizoz. It was on a ball stolen on the attack by Garmendia and later a short pass to Susaeta who was unable to control. On the contrary, it turned into a brilliant counterattack from left to right and there Cazorla defined as he pleased.
All the previous work down the drain and twenty minutes to live on the razor’s edge against a team like the ‘castellonenses’ who are used to playing the counterattack rather well. In fact, Joseba Llorente could have sentenced the match in the minute 70, but his cross barely missed wide, however at the other goal, Diego Lopez saved his team in the 77 after deflecting, in another great intervention, a shot on the half-turn by Llorente, but this time ours.
However, the hopes of a draw vanished when Susaeta was booked with his second yellow just a few seconds later in a play, like in the first card, that seemed innocent from the outside. A red card that, in its two chapters, leaves a daisy to pull petals in the air, but to do this correctly it is well known that the list of scholars on the matter is at least numerous.
And between enormous attempts to reach the back and little efficiency in set pieces on the attack, the minutes were consumed. In injury time Mati Fernandez killed off a decent match on the part of Athletic, but without definition capacity in the front and which leaves the team with two weeks ahead and an enormous amount of work to retake the point’s footpath with strength. That and not the Copa is the priority now, no matter how difficult it may be to accept.