Villarreal played out a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid in an exciting match at the Estadio de la Cerámica (0-0). Both teams have good goalscoring opportunities, in a match that had controversial moments, even if there were no goals.
Javi Calleja lined up with a 4-3-3 where André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vicente Iborra and Manu Trigueros brought balance to the middle of the pitch, while the danger in attack was the responsibility of Samu Chukwueze, Moi Gómez, and Gerard Moreno. The Catalan, who in recent games, had started on the wing, was the man in the middle of the attacking trident.
It was the Yellows No.7 who had the first chance of the match with a header that went just wide. Just seconds later, Joao Félix hit Sergio Asenjo’s post. It was a warning of Atlético’s danger.
In the 14th minute, one of the most controversial moments of the tie took place. Moi Gómez touched the ball and Santiago Arias brought him down in the area, but referee Alejandro José Hernández Hernández interpreted it as dangerous play from the Villarreal man. Debatable.
The Submarine were well organised against one of the strongest teams in LaLiga. Trigueros tried to beat Jan Oblak with a tremendous volley across goals but his effort was met by a magnificent stretching save from the Slovenian. Half an hour had passed and the match was intense.
So much so that Álvaro Morata could have been sent off for elbowing Iborra. The Atlético forward already had a yellow card but Hernández Hernández decided against showing red.
The pace of the game was frantic in the second half. Villarreal and Atlético fought for every ball as if it were the last challenge of the game. There were few clear chances on goal though. The best chance for the Yellows fell to Chukwueze, while Renan Lodi had Atlético’s best opportunity. Both shots went wide.
The last few minutes were extremely open. Neither side would settle for the draw, even if it ended all square.
Villarreal's next game will be away against Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (Sunday 15th December, 6:30pm CET).
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Albiol, Pau, Quintillà; Iborra (Morlanes, m. 72), Anguissa; Chukwueze (Ontiveros, m. 89), Trigueros, Moi Gómez (Toko Ekambi, m. 67); Gerard.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Arias (Trippier, m. 79), Felipe, Hermoso, Lodi; Saúl, Thomas (Vitolo, m. 58), Herrera (Llorente, m. 83), Koke; Joao Félix, Morata.
Referee: Hernández Hernández. Booked: Anguissa, Trigueros (Villarreal); Morata (Atlético Madrid).
Matchday information: Matchday 16 of LaLiga at the Estadio de la Cerámica in front of 17,964 spectators. Tennis player Roberto Bautista carried out the honorary kick-off after recently winning the Davis Cup with Spain.