Villarreal 0 – Elche CF

Villarreal draw against a solid Elche side in a game with few goalscoring opportunities

One point. That’s what Villarreal got against Eibar at the Estadio de la Cerámica, despite the Yellows’ domination throughout the 90 minutes. The away side were a solid wall at the back, which helped them come away with the point.

Unai Emery made eight changes from the starting lineup from the last game against Sivasspor. Only Vicente Iborra, Álex Baena and Samu Chukwueze stayed in the team.

The first half was very tight, without clear goalscoring chances. Both teams fought for every ball as if it was the last one of the game, and that meant there were a lot of imprecise touches.

The aim was to try and get control of the ball. Villarreal weren’t tested in defender, but found it hard to cause Edgar Badía danger in the Elche goal. The away side, tried to fill the centre of the pitch to get possession, leaving Pere Milla alnoe up front.

Half-time arrived without much goalline incident. Emery used the break to change the team. Take Kubo and Paco Alcácer replaced Samu Chukwueze and Álex Baena respectively, with the team looking to push forward. Alcácer was making his first appearance after a muscle injury, but with 77 minutes on the clock, he had to go off once more with discomfort.

The first real chance of the match for either side fell to Gerard. The Yellow’s No.7 launched a powerful right-footed effort from the edge of the box which went just wide of the post (m.70). Villarreal pushed forward and Take had another great chance just after, this time after a great piece of team play. Badía, at full stretch, kept it out.

The minutes went by and the scoreboard stayed the same. Pau Torres, heading at full stretch, tried his best, but the ball hit the bar.

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery underlined that he believed his team deserved more against Elche at the Estadio de la Cerámica (0-0), but he recognised the impressive defensive performance by the away side: “Elche have created a very strong defensive set-up. They played with four defenders and two wing-backs, so they were playing with six at the back.

The positive news for us is that they didn’t have a single chance of scoring. We pressed well, but they were really well set up. We didn’t create danger. The sensations are those of frustration, but if anyone deserved to win, it was us. We were able to create more goalscoring chances. The team is being consistent.”

The Submarine’s next game will be against Qarabag at the Estadio de la Cerámica on the last matchday of the UEFA Europa League group stage (Thursday, 9pm CET).

Lineups:

Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Albiol, Pau, Estupiñán; Trigueros (Fer Niño, m. 81), Iborra (Coquelin, m. 77), Parejo; Chukwueze (Take, m. 46), Gerard, Álex Baena (Paco Alcácer, m. 46 (Yeremy, m. 77)).

Elche CF: Edgar Badía; Barragán, Verdú, Diego González, Josema; Josán (Lucu, m. 87), Marcone, Guti, Fidel, Morente (Mfulu, m. 87); Pere Milla.

Referee: Jaime Latre. Booked: Parejo, Albiol, Coquelin (Villarreal); Pere Milla, Fidel (Real Sociedad).

Report and photo courtesy: https://www.villarrealcf.es/

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