Villarreal had to be patient to beat Real Valladolid at the Estadio de la Cerámica. The Submarine got heir second league win in a row thanks to goals from Santi Cazorla (from the penalty spot) and Javi Ontiveros, who got his first for the club, and also was the man who won the penalty before the No.8’s goal.
Javi Calleja lined up with the same shape that worked so well against Leganés, a 4-1-4-1. The only change was Rubén Peña at right-back. In the second half, the head coach changed system to play with two up front in a 4-42.
The first half was intense. The Yellow Submarine had more attacking moments, but the away side were dangerous on the counter and from set pieces.
The first chance of the match fell to the Yellows. Xavi Quintillà played a great switch to the right, Rubén Peña crossed into the box and Gerard Moreno headed into the gloves of Jordi Masip (m.11). Only two minutes later, Valladolid responded. Óscar Plano turned in the area, and his effort was saved by Sergio Asenjo, but the rebound dropped suddenly towards the goal. Between Peña and Raúl Albiol, they were able to make a goal-line clearance.
With half an hour gone, one of the most controversial moments of the game took place. Gerard scored, but the referee César Soto Grado ruled out the goal for a supposed foul by the Catalan striker.
The second half started with a scare. Sandro hit the woodwork after a lightning-quick counter-attack. Villarreal were dominating, but Valladolid were waiting for their moment.
Vicente Iborra headed a Cazorla corner over, before substitute Karl Toko Ekambi had a great chance. Gerard played a great ball through to the No.17, with the striker denied by a great Masip save.
Calleja looked to the bench once more, bringing on Samu Chukwueze and Ontiveros. It was the latter, who with his first few touches, won the penalty that would make it 1-0. Cazorla stepped up from the spot to fire home (m.77).
Villarreal nearly went further ahead after 85 minutes. Peña's powerful effort from the edge of the box was only centimetres away from being a goal, hitting Masip's left post.
The 2-0 was a work of art between two substitutes, Chukwueze and Ontiveros. The Nigerian received the ball from André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, crossed to the back post, with the Spaniard classily heading the ball into the back of the net (m.88)
Next up for Villarreal is a game against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou (Tuesday, 9pm CEST).
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Peña, Albiol, Pau, Quintillà; Cazorla, Anguissa, Iborra (Ontiveros, m. 73), Moi Gómez (Chukwueze, m. 65); Gerard, Bacca (Toko Ekambi, m. 57).
Real Valladolid CF: Masip; Pedro Porro, Kiko Olivas, Salisu, Barba; Antoñito, Míchel (Hervías, m. 79), Rubén Alcaraz, Óscar Plano (A. Tuhami, m. 73); Sandro (Waldo, m. 65), Sergi Guardiola.
Goals: 1-0. Min. 77: Cazorla (penalty). 2-0. Min. 88: Ontiveros.
Referee: Soto Grado. Booked: Quintillà, Iborra (Villarrel); Barba (Real Valladolid).
Matchday information: LaLiga Matchday 65 at the Estadio de la Cerámica, with an attendance of 16,195.