Almost nothing came out of Villarreal this bittersweet autumn. In Bergamo, at the irrevocable hour, everything worked out. Against Atalanta, one of the most competitive teams in Europe, the Spanish team defended itself rigorously and struck without mercy led by the cerebral Parejo, the opportune Gerard Moreno and the indefatigable Danjuma, author of two goals that place him among the most strikers. resolutives of the course. The feat enrolls Villarreal in the second round of the Champions League for the third time in its history.
Juan Musso, Palomino, Demiral (Djimsiti, min. 45), Rafael Tolói, Freuler, Hans Hateboer, Joakim Maehle (Zappacosta, min. 89), Marten de Roon (Luis Muriel, min. 53), Josip Ilicic, Matteo Pessina ( Malinovsky, min. 45) and Duván Zapata
Rulli, Juan Foyth, Pau Torres, Estupiñán, Albiol, Parejo (Trigueros, min. 92), Alberto Moreno (Alfonso Pedraza, min. 87), Moi Gómez (Rubén Peña, min. 92), Capoue, Gerard Moreno (Iborra, min. 79) and Arnaut Danjuma (Boulaye Dia, min. 87)
Goles 0-1 min. 2: Arnaut Danjuma. 0-2 min. 41: Capoue. 0-3 min. 50: Arnaut Danjuma. 1-3 min. 70: Malinovsky. 2-3 min. 79: Duván Zapata.
Árbitro Anthony Taylor
Yellow cards Parejo (min. 56), Alberto Moreno (min. 56) and Luis Muriel (min. 88)
In front of one of the most advanced lobbying organizations in football, a true plunger, Emery presented a warped version of the light and creative Villarreal we know. Without Trigueros, his most dynamic interior, relegated to the bench, with Foyth, a center-back, closing the right side with Moi Gómez, and with Estupiñán and Alberto Moreno, two full-backs, closing the left wing, Villarreal did not enter the game to keep the ball but to be sealed back in case of losing it. Always ready to retreat, the visitors spared it all to recovery and a quick, sudden pass to Gerard Moreno and Danjuma.
The handicap of this approach – the difficulties in getting out playing with the limited support offered by Alberto Moreno and Foyth – was revealed as quickly as the advantage. Trained to defend forward, the Atalanta centrals left their areas to accompany an attack maneuver whose success, as always, depended on each of the members of the action executing it without hesitation. One of them hesitated. It was Demiral, the Turkish central defender, who badly controlled a ball and then did not decide to fight it when it was divided against Parejo. The worst possible client to suffer this kind of crisis, Dani Parejo did not miss Demiral’s astonishment and saved himself control. Showcasing a prodigious economy of time, the Madrid midfielder hit the ball directly. In the vertigo of pressure and back pressure, his precise delivery concentrated a deliberate and clear reasoning. Toloi’s pass to the back had already been timed with Danjuma’s snatch, who scooped up the ball in front of Musso and slammed the shot between his legs.
Two seconds of the ‘false nine’
The magnificent opening of the 0-1 scared away the memory of the tiring trip, of the snowstorm, of the endless concentration after Wednesday’s game postponed to Thursday, to the annoyance of the 200 Castellón fans displaced to Bergamo, who had to return to Spain. Villarreal channeled a rarefied procedure and focused on the predictable. During the half hour that followed the first goal he was stripped of the ball, forced to fight the invaders of his area in long tilts and maintenance operations with little hope of controlling the situation.
The home crowd, huddled in the stands at Gewiss Stadium, did not stop singing, aware that their players are encouraged by a rebellious spirit, proof of setbacks. Ilicic governed that fraction of the game and Atalanta appeared in the Rulli area with Zapata, with his two lanes, Hateboer and Maehle, with his interior, Pessina, and even with a central, who used to be Toloi, to join the auction. The arrivals multiplied but not the shots. Only Freuler, from outside the area, put Rulli to the test, almost always well protected.
Time worked in favor of Villarreal. When at the end of the first part the forces of Ilicic and his companions remitted, the spaces were opened and those who had remained drowned were able to participate. It was then that Alberto Moreno changed his orientation towards Gerard Moreno. For the first time in the match, the false nine He had a couple of seconds to put together a play. It was enough. With a three passes he plugged Moi and Capoue, who ended up breaking in to make it 0-2.
The Atalanta players retired to the locker room stunned and there Gasperini, the coach, must have stunned them more. Outside Demiral, inside Djimsiti. Outside Pessina, punished for not chasing Capoue, inside Malinovski. Total charge. Still more pressure, but selectively. Against the clairvoyants Parejo and Gerard Moreno, yes; against the limited Foyth, nothing. And it was Foyth, free of mark, who connected with Gerard Moreno in the 50th minute.
The hitch turned with Palomino on top, made a pipe to the edge of the area and assisted Danjuma in passing. Tired of drawing unmarked space, this time the Dutchman received the foot in the small area. He controlled with his right, turned on Toloi and finished off a goal with the scent of judgment with his left. The Atalanta seemed melted.
Then the last battle began. A 20-minute nightmare embodied in Ilicic, general manager of an attack like a flood that Malinovsky and Zapata made at 1-3 and 2-3. Forced to a supreme effort, Villarreal crowned the victory helped by Vicente Iborra, who entered just in time to raise the wall.