Honours even at El Madrigal
Last Updated: 10/11/13 8:53pm
Atletico Madrid celebrate against Villarreal
An own goal for either side meant the spoils were shared between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, who recorded a 1-1 draw at El Madrigal, as Diego Simeone's side squandered a chance to briefly go ahead of Primera Division leaders Barcelona.
Although Los Rojiblancos dropped points for only the second time this season, they could not complain about the result, and were in fact the weaker side from start to finish.
They took a fortuitous lead with just two minutes gone when Villarreal full-back Mario Gaspar headed into his own net, but late in the second half the Yellow Submarines, who remain fourth in the league table, got the goal their efforts deserved when Juanfran turned the ball into the wrong goal.
Atletico arrived in the game on a high after securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League in mid-week, but came unstuck against a vibrant and dogged Villarreal, who dominated possession and took the game to their opponents.
Atletico started without the suspended Filipe Luis, while Diego Godin was rested, meaning non-regulars Emiliano Insua and Toby Auderweireld started in defence. The team's creative engine Arda Turan started on the bench and his absence was noted, as the visitors were unable to find any composure in the middle.
However, less than two minutes had gone by the time Atletico took the lead. Juanfran crossed towards Koke at the back post but the ball bounced off the head of Mario and past Sergio Asenjo.
Cani came very close to equalising immediately after the goal, his shot from outside the area going just wide of the post.
Thibaut Courtois had to save a better effort from Bruno Soriano a few minutes later, getting a fist to a shot which looked set for the back of the net. The midfielder was then on the end of a nasty aerial collision with Raul Garcia which resulted in the the Villarreal player having to play the rest of the game with a bandage around his head.
The hosts were unable to create many clear openings but always had Atletico on the back foot, and Simeone's side struggled to get forward, a weak shot from David Villa and a wide effort from Koke their only attempts in the first period.
Uche almost equalised inadvertently shortly after the break, blocking a clearance from Toby Alderweireld and sending the ball just over the bar.
Midway through the second half, Jonathan Pereira created and missed Villareal's best chance of the game, receiving the ball just inside the area with his back to goal and shooting on the turn, his effort just trickling past the post.
With 12 minutes remaining, the equaliser finally arrived for Marcelino's side.
Jeremy Perbet got down to the byline inside the area after fending off a challenge from Alderweireld and put a short cross towards Ikechukwu Uche in the six yard box, which rolled into the net off the foot of Juanfran.
Villarreal were not ready to settle for just a point and Perbet tried to lob Courtois from the left hand side of the area with eight minutes left, but the Belgian was able to catch the ball, bringing to an end the last real moment of danger.
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