Villarreal lost against Osasuna at the Estadio de la Cerámica in a game where they had a number of good goalscoring opportunities, and where there was also controversy. Referee Munuera Montera blew for a penalty for the Yellows seconds before Paco Alcácer scored. Then, after a VAR revision, he overturned his decision and gave a free-kick outside of the box. The goals of the game came later on, through Moncayola, David García (in his own net) and Budimir.
Unai Emery made a number of changes to his starting XI due to the large number of games his team had played in recent weeks.
The first half was even. Villarreal took control of the all against the Navarrese side, who were looking for success based on an organised defence and counter-attacks.
With a quarter of an hour gone, the most controversial moment of the tie took place. Nacho Vidal pulled down Jaume Costa and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, just before Alcácer put the ball in the back of the net with a perfect shot from the edge of the box. After four minutes of waiting, VAR overturned the decision, ruling that the tug was centimetres away from the line. It wasn’t a penalty, but it wasn’t a goal either. Bizarre.
That decision changed the tempo of the game. Osasuna started to improve, although excellent defensive work from the Yellows stopped the away side from scoring. In fact, the best chance of the first half fell to Mario Gaspar, who shot over the bar after a nice piece of combination play with Yeremy.
Emery looked to the bench at half-time, bringing on Gerard Moreno and Alfonso Pedraza, as he looked for his side to be more clinical.
In the 62nd minute, the Yellows No.7 had a chance after a Pedraza cross from the left. Gerard’s acrobatic effort was kept out by feline-like reactions from Sergio Herrera.
Seconds later, in a similar piece of play, it was 0-1. Moncayola’s volley from the edge of the box entered just within the post, past Sergio Asenjo.
The Submarine drew level, but not without suspense. Gerard received a through ball, and tried to play it across to Alcácer. David García tried to clear it but ended up sending the ball into his own net. VAR once more intervened, looking for a possible offside. After a few moments of uncertainty, the goal was allowed to stand (1-1, m.71).
The match then went mad. Osasuna made it 1-2 from a corner. Budimir’s powerful header putt he away side ahead once more (m.73).
The Yellows pushed forward, looking for the draw. Moi Gómez went close in added time, but was denied by a great Herrera save, with the goalkeeper pushing the effort over the bar for a corner.
Manu Trigueros also went close with a placed left-footed effort, which was once again denied by a great Herrera save. It was going into the top corner. Frustrating.
Next up for Villarreal is the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against GNK Dinamo Zagren on Thursday (9pm CEST) at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Albiol (Trigueros, m. 77), Funes, Jaume Costa (Pedraza, m. 46); Parejo, Foyth, Moi Gómez; Peña (Gerard, m. 46), Paco Alcácer (Fer Niño, m. 77), Yeremy (Chukwueze, m. 57).
CA Osasuna: Sergio Herrera; Nacho Vidal, Aridane, David García, Juan Cruz (Manu Sánchez, m. 60); Kike Barja (Oier, m. 75), Moncayola, Darko Brasanac, Javi Martínez (Torró, m. 57); Rubén García (Roberto Torres, m. 75), Budimir (Calleri, m. 75).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 63: Moncayola. 1-1. Min. 71: David García (own goal). 2-1. Min. 73: Budimir.
Referee: Munuera Montero.
Matchday information: Match corresponding to LaLiga Matchday 30 at the Estadio de la Cerámica.