Villarreal will have to make a comeback at the Estadio de la Cerámica to go through to the next round of the Copa del Rey. The Submarine fell to SD Ponferradina in the first leg of the Round of 32 of the Spanish cup competition, in a match that swung in favor of the home side thanks to a goal from a direct free kick by Cidoncha (1-0). The Yellows got better and better as the game went on and were all over the locals by the end of the match, but it wasn't enough. It’s Javi Calleja’s first defeat as Villarreal Manager. Since his arrival, the team had won 3 games in the LaLiga Santander and drawn 2 games in the UEFA Europa League.
Javi Calleja put out a starting eleven with a lot of new faces, including Yellows Reserve team players Cantero, Pau, Ramiro and Leo Suárez. Samu Castillejo was the only player that did not change in the lineup from the team that played against UD Las Palmas.
The match was very even from the off, with chances for both teams. Villarreal came close to scoring first as Samu Castillejo’s shot from wide on the right just missed the mark.
For their part, SD Ponferradina were rewarded for their efforts just after the half an hour mark. Cidoncha stepped up to take a free kick from far out and his shot struck the top corner of Cantero’s net (1-0, m. 36).
In the second half Calleja made some changes, putting Rodrigo and Fornals on before the 60 minute mark. But it was just before that that Cheryshev almost broke the deadlock with a fantastic strike that forced Dinu to make a good save.
Villarreal completely domianted until the end. Enes Ünal came close to scoring on several occasions, above all in the 70th minute as he was set up by Dani Raba. The Turkish striker could not find a way pat Dinu as he went through one on one with the SD Ponferradina goalkeeper.
The Yellows attacked in earnest, forcing the home side to clear the ball off the line from a Rodrigo shot. But the equaliser never came.
Official debuts for Cantero and Raba
Goalkeeper, Ander Cantero, and midfielder, Dani Raba, made their official debuts with the Villarreal First Team at the El Toralín stadium. Cantero started the match and Raba came on in the 70th minute replacing teammate Leo Suárez.
SD Ponferradina: Dinu; Jon García (Yac, m. 63), F. Román, Á. Moreno; Andy, Cidoncha, Saúl, Ríos Reina; Iago Díaz (Pallarés, m. 51), Jorge García (Menudo, m. 57) and Yuri.
Villarreal CF: Cantero; Rukavina, Bonera, Pau, Adrián Marín; Ramiro (Rodrigo, m. 51), Samu Castillejo (Fornals, m. 58), Soriano, Leo Suárez (Raba, m. 70); Cheryshev and Enes Ünal.
Goal: 1-0. Min. 36: Cidoncha.
Referee: Melero López (Andalusia, Spain). Cautioned: Jorge García and Yuri for the locals.
Match Information: Match corresponding to the first leg of the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey at the El Toralín stadium.