Villarreal 1-2 Real Sociedad: Dream start for Basques as Ceramica trip brings three pointsAugust 18, 2018
A much changed Villarreal side went down at home to Real Sociedad despite taking the lead on the opening weekend of the new La Liga season.
The hosts had no less than seven players who didn’t feature for the club last season, starting at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Saturday evening.
There were debuts for Santiago Caseres, Ramiro Funes Mori and Karl Toko Ekambi while Gerard Moreno and Santi Cazorla made their second debuts for the club after returning from spells away. Alfonso Pedraza started at left back after his loan period with Alaves while youngster Manu Morlanes made his first appearance for the first team after impressing in the B squad.
There were two debutants for the visitors as well, with Theo Hernandez on loan from Real Madrid and former Athletic Club midfielder Mikel Merino.
La Real started the brighter of the two sides however it was Villarreal who opened the scoring after quarter of an hour.
Gerard Moreno was given the ball on the right hand side of the box before cutting inside and finding the bottom left corner of the net with his left foot.
Moreno and Ekambi were causing all sorts of problems for the Sociedad back line as the visitors struggled to get a foothold in the game.
They came back into the match as the half progressed though and five minutes before the interval, they equalised courtesy of Willian Jose. A Villarreal throw-in looked simple for Funes Mori but poor control allowed Jose in and he was able to slam the ball high past Asenjo.
Sociedad had the ball in the net again before the break but Mikel Oyarzabal’s header was ruled out for a foul in the build up.
The second half was a lot quieter than the first with Villarreal’s players still trying to get to know each other’s games while Sociedad were content to hit on the break.
Villarreal were the side doing the pressing but with 19 minutes left they were caught with a sucker punch as La Real broke forward to score with the aid of yet another defensive error.
Goalscorer Willian Jose played a long ball forward which Alvaro Gonzalez struggled to deal with, swinging his leg at the ball but not connecting properly resulting in the loose ball breaking the way of substitute Juanmi who made no mistake from 25 yards out as he struck a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Sociedad had something to hold onto and they defended expertly until the end of the game as the hosts failed to find a way through and in the end, the Basques picked up an impressive three points away from home.
Villarreal: Asenjo; Gaspar, Alvaro, Funes Mori, Pedraza; Cazorla (Trigueros, 73), Caseres, Morlanes (Raba, 65), Fornals (Bacca, 78); Moreno, Ekambi
Real Sociedad: Rulli; Zaldua, Llorente, Moreno, Theo; Pardo (Juanmi, 68), Zubeldia, Illarramendi, Merino (Zurutuza, 59); Jose, Oyarzabal (Elustondo, 80)
Referee: Mario Melero Lopez