Villarreal defeats Athletic at La Ceramica

Villarreal defeats Athletic at La Cerámica

Direct Chronicle

Villarreal are accelerating on their way to Europe and Athletic are stalling so badly that in recent days it’s starting to smell like such a sudden move. Valverde’s team has worn boots. The yellows found their way to Unai Simón’s goal while the rojiblancos, who played in black yesterday as they envisioned for next season’s continental competitions, were blurred in front of the Queen’s goal. The final victory was perhaps too great a punishment, but it is a symptom of Bilbao’s depression. They celebrated with five goals in Vila-real.

villa real


Reina, Mandi, Alfonso Pedraza (Alberto Moreno, min. 82), Juan Foyth, Pau Torres, Capoue (Ramón Terrats, min. 56), Parejo, Álex Baena, Nicolas Jackson (Gerard Moreno, min. 66), Chukwueze (Giovani Lo Celso, min. 65) and Yeremy Pino (Trigueros, min. 82)



Unai Simón, Lekue (De Marcos, min. 59), Yeray, Yuri, Aitor Paredes, Nico Williams, Ander Herrera (Vesga, min. 59), Dani García, Berenguer (Muniain, min. 59), O. Sancet and Williams (Guruzeta, min. 70)

Goals 1-0 min 23: Alex Baena. 2:0 minutes. 36: Nicholas Jackson. 2-1 min 47: O.Sancet. 3-1 min 49: Nicholas Jackson. 4-1 min 60: Aitor Paredes (p). 5-1 min 90: Alex Baena.

referee Carlos del Cerro Grande

Yellow cards: Capoue (min. 1), Parejo (min. 44), Pau Torres (min. 48), Ander Herrera (min. 53), Aitor Paredes (min. 54), Alfonso Pedraza (min. 58) and Williams (min. 68)

It all started at a schizophrenic pace, from here to there; from Reina’s Gate to Unais. There was no midfield. A moment later, Iñaki Williams had crossed wide in front of the local keeper on a counterattack beautifully executed by Sancet. Moments later, the Athletic goalkeeper blocked Pedraza’s long-range effort and Simón, barely catching his breath, had to parry Yeremi’s shot two meters from goal.

But there was something for everyone in the madness of La Cerámica, as the Bilbao team were good at interpreting their steal-and-run options, and between the two Williams brothers they staged a relay race, with the older participating and the younger executed to make Reina wear his best clothes in the punt.

Athletic were weighed down by defending without Iñigo, Vivian and De Marcos. Yeray returned to the cause despite the pubic injury and that’s where all the trouble came from, although Villarreal had to capitalize on a set piece allowing Baena to beat Unai for the first time with a direct shot. Athletic responded with a volley from Nico but hit the sub again in the 37th minute when the ball fell clear to Jackson after a weak shot that hit Chukwueze, who scored the second. The initial fears of the people of Bilbao subsided in a few moments and Villarreal found the ideal setting for their interests.

Athletic were waiting for half-time to lick their wounds when, on a free-kick, Parejo could think of nothing but to grab and throw Yuri to the ground two yards from the referee, who initially whistled a free-kick almost over the line, although the VAR indicated that she was inside. The penalty was taken by Sancet to close the distance off the tee.

Athletic came out briskly after the break, but the Rojiblancas’ fears stopped immediately as Jackson scored his third goal in a Yeremi-led counterattack, where he only had to put up with a troubling Athletic defense that was decoupled from the start . The hinges of the defense, which Valverde had built up with scraps, creaked and at some point the guests’ balloon burst. After the break they looked like they were hoping for an equaliser, but were helpless with a difficult distance to go. The Jackson-Chukwueze pair moved freely.

Villarreal enjoyed so many chances in the opposition area and with the Bilbao side having fewer balls than at the start, they suffered from the penalty received, made worse by Paredes’ own goal.

Everything was easy for the home side against a very unfortunate Athletic who paid dearly for their ineffectiveness against the opposition goal. The Basques have managed to score a few goals, almost as many as Villarreal, but fail to do so and in recent days have gone from earnestly aiming for a place in Europe to staying away. Four days ago they were booked with one point less and they leave La Cerámica with ten less.

The fifth goal, scored by Baena almost on time, buried even more Athletic, who played uncompromisingly in the second half and succumbed to their own inefficiency. Villarreal, meanwhile, remains steadfast and pursues the noble zone.

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