Persistence pays off. Villarreal beat Eibar at the Estadio de la Cerámica (2-1), thanks to goals from Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcácer, which meant that Kike’s goal for the away side meant nothing. The Submarine did, however, have to come from behind and dig in to get three important points. The Yellows had a number of goalscoring opportunities before coming away with the victory. Thanks to this result, Villarreal move top of the table, with the rest of the games on this matchday yet to play, with four points from two games.
Unai Emery made just one change from the starting XI that drew against Huesca, with Mario Gaspar replacing the injured Rubén Peña.
The Yellows were up for it from the very start, dominating and creating goalscoring chances. A penalty was given for a foul on Moi Gómez and Gerard thought he had scored when he had the ball in the back of the net. Both decisions were overturned due to offside.
The Submarine were on top and before there was a quarter of an hour on the clock, they had another clear chance to go ahead on the scoreboard. This time it fell to Samu Chukwueze, whose shot with his right foot went wide.
The away side woke from their lethargy with a dangerous counter-attack. Marko Dimitrovic got rid of the ball quickly, Takashi Inui controlled it perfectly and forced Sergio Asenjo into making a fantastic save to stop Eibar scoring the first goal of the game.
The scare didn’t affect the Yellows, who once again could have scored with Alcácer shooting at full stretch. The striker thought he was offside, but he wasn0t.
Before the end of the first half, Asenjo needed to step up once more. This time he stopped a left-footed effort from Edu Expósito from the edge of the box.
After half-time, the great opportunities continued falling for Villarreal. With the second half just underway, once more Gerard had another great chance, after a Chukwueze pass. He chipped the ball over Dmitrovic, but it was cleared off the line by an Eibar defender. Seconds later, Raúl Albiol got on the end of a free-kick but it went just wide. It was incredible that the scoreboard hadn’t moved.
Villarreal let Eibar off, but the away side took their chance. Expósito played a ball through to Kike, and the striker went past Asenjo before making it 0-1 (m.49).
After two more headed chances for the Yellows, it was time for Pervis Estupiñán’s debut. The left-back replaced Alfonso Pedraza in the 57th minute. Vicente Iborra also came on at the same time, substituting Francis Coquelin.
It was from an Estupiñán cross that the equaliser came. The ball went to the far post, Chukwueze put the ball back in the danger area, and Gerard magnificently dragged the ball back past a defender to score with his right foot across the goalkeeper (1-1, m.62).
The Yellows’ onslaught led to it becoming 2-1. Gerard played a great ball behind the defence for Alcácer and Villarreal’s No.17 scored. It wasn’t without drama though. First of all because he took a long time to get his shot away, and then because the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. VAR showed that Alcácer’s position was correct, and the goal went on the scoreboard (m.71).
Minutes later, a piece of confusion between Asenjo and Albiol saw the centre-back left bleeding after an unfortunate coming together with his team-mate. Sofian Chakla replaced the No.3, who was unable to continue.
The last minutes weren’t great if you have a heart condition. Despite that, Villarreal came away with the win and now have four points from their first two LaLiga games of the season.
Next up for the Yellows will be an away game against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou (Sunday, 9pm CEST)
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Albiol (Sofian, m. 77), Pau, Pedraza (Estupiñán, m. 57); Chukwueze (Trigueros, m. 84), Parejo, Coquelin (Iborra, m. 57), Moi Gómez; Gerard , Paco Alcácer (Take, m. 84).
SD Eibar: Dmitrovic; Rober Correa, Oliveira, Bigas, Rafa Soares (Rodrigues, m. 83); Pedro León (Atienza, m. 68), Recio (Kadzior, m. 83), Sergio Álvarez (Quique, m. 88), Edu Expósito, Inui; ,Kike (Sergi Enrich, m. 83).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 49: Kike. 1-1. Min. 62: Gerard. 2-1. Min. 71: Paco Alcácer.
Referee: Figueroa Vázquez (C. Andaluz). Booked: Coquelin (Villarreal); Recio (Eibar).
Matchday information: Game corresponding to 2020/21 LaLiga Matchday 2 at the Estadio de la Cerámica.