Villarreal got a brave and hard-fought point against SD Eibar in a match which had a frenetic rhythm, and a number of chances, which both goalkeepers taking centre stage. The Yellows were able to contain the home side's direct style of play, but where unable to make the most of their chances to take the three points home from the Basque Country.
Both the home side and the away team stepped onto the Ipurúa pitch with a clear aim to attack. In the opening moments, Pablo Fornals had the first chance of the match. The midfielder made Asier Riesgo pull off a great save, after a great pass from Gerard Moreno, who played the perfect ball for the Villarreal No.8 to have a shot on goal. Eibar soon had their first chance too, with Sergio Asenjo being called into action after a Fabián Orellana effort.
Despite the promising start to the game, the rhythm slowed down as the first half went on. With 15 minutes on the clock, the home side began to see more of the ball, making the Yellows sit back to try and stop a number of long balls and set pieces from ending in a goal.
With half an hour on the clock, Villarreal managed to find the ball in space, and used the counter attack to test the Eibar defence. With just three touches, the Yellow Submarine had their second chance of the tie. A long Santi Cazorla ball found Samu Chukwueze, who played it across the box to Fornals, whose shot was over the bar.
The first half ended without a great chance, with the good opportunities being saved for after the break. After the interval, the game was end to end, with both sides having moments when they could have scored. The first of those fell to Eibar, with Charles making Asenjo pull off a fantastic save. In fact, the Villarreal goalkeeper was impressive throughout the second half, making a number of great stops.
Villarreal reacted quickly, going almost down the other end immediately, with Moreno having the Yellow's best chance of the game. The Catalan forward found himself free between the two centre-backs, after a great pass from Cazorla, with his shot being saved by Riesgo's body.
The match became frenetic. With less than 15 minutes of the second half on the clock, Asenjo made his best save so far, keeping out a point-blank header from Iván Ramis. Five minutes later, Riesgo took the ball from Cazorla's toes as he nearly rounded the Eibar goalkeeper after a great piece of play with Chukwueze.
The home side's biggest threat was from corners, who started to throw long balls into the box to try and find the winner. With the clock ticking down, both sides felt they could win. In the 84th minute, Ramiro Funes Mori was free in the Eibar box, but was unable to make proper contact with his header. Five minutes later, the Argentine defender saved his team, clearing off the line from a Gonzalo Escalante effort, which meant the game ended goalless.
Next up for Villarreal is a game on Wednesday against RCD Espanyol at the Estadio de la Cerámica (8:30pm CET), in the first leg of the last 16 tie in the Copa del Rey.
SD Eibar: Riesgo; Peña, Ramis (Oliveira, m. 65), Arbilla, Cote; Orellana, Diop, Jordán (Escalante, m. 72), Cucurella; Charles (Kike García, m. 79), Sergi Enrich.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Funes Mori, Víctor Ruiz, Pedraza; Cáseres, Fuego (Trigueros, m. 74), Fornals, Cazorla (Toko Ekambi, m. 69), Chukwueze; Gerard (Bacca, m. 84).
Referee: Jaime Latre. Booked: Ramiro Funes Mori, Javi Fuego (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Matchday 18 of LaLiga in front of an attendance of 4,141.