Athletic’s current top goalscorer equalised after Gerard Moreno put Villarreal in the lead
Athletic Club drew 1-1 with Villarreal in a hard-fought match at San Mamés.
The Lions had chances to win in the second half, most notably a close-range Iñaki Williams header which Sergio Asenjo blocked.
Striker Gerard Moreno put the Yellow Submarine ahead in the 15th minute and winger Alex Berenguer equalised just before the half-time whistle.
The draw means the Rojiblancos maintain their mid-table position in LaLiga Santander.
Villarreal looked to gain control of the ball early on, but it was Athletic’s Raúl García who threatened to score first. The forward’s powerful long shot going narrowly over.
Central-midfielder Unai López also had a go from distance but his effort was stopped by Asenjo.
Unai Emery’s side took the lead in the 15th minute. A run down the left-flank by Alfonso Pedraza opened up space for Moreno, whose shot brushed Yeray’s knee before hitting the back of the net.
The Lions began to find their feet towards the end of the first half, looking particularly dangerous down the left-flank.
In the 43rd minute, full-back Yuri Berchiche’s cross, which took a touch off Williams, was bundled into the goal by Berenguer at the back post. It was the winger’s sixth goal of the season, making him the Club’s current top scorer of 2020-21.
Athletic started strongly after the restart. Oscar de Marcos went close to scoring after getting on the end of a fine pass by Unai López, but the right-back couldn’t find a way past Asenjo.
The keeper became a recurring problem for the Lions. He got down low to parry Berenguer’s fiercely-struck shot in the 67th minute. And the keeper was well placed to deny Williams’ header minutes later.
Captain Iker Muniain almost scored with a back-post header five minutes from time but he couldn’t direct his effort towards the goal.
Villarreal pushed for the winner in the final stretch, but Athletic kept the Yellows at bay.
The Lions now face back-to-back matches with Levante UD, first in LaLiga on Friday and then in the Copa del Rey the following Thursday.