Atleti drew 0-0 at Villarreal’s Estadio de la Cerámica on Friday despite enjoying several chances to score throughout the clash.
Our team were off to a great start, applying high pressure on the hosts and attacking them with intensity. Lodi and Joao Félix were the first to try their luck, both inside the first five minutes, but the Portuguese and the Brazilian struck wide. Our number 7 had a massive chance not long after, following a shot from outside the box that hit the post. Villarreal answered with a couple of chances of their own, but they were unable to hit the target. The hosts showed why they boast the third best attacking record in LaLiga, but Atleti showed great intensity on and off the ball and reacted well to the home side’s attacks. In fact, we had our best chance of the first half some 25 minutes in as Saúl set Joao Félix up in style and the Portuguese’s chip went over the crossbar. It was one of the few big chances of the first half, which was very hard-fought. Ultimately, defences prevailed in the first 45 minutes.
Saúl had a chance to score in the opening moments of the second half that was saved by Asenjo. However, Villarreal’s defence proved to be solid throughout the game and we struggled to create many chances as the match progressed. Felipe and Mario Hermoso also showed their quality and made things very difficult for the home side’s strikers. Simeone decided to make his first substitution just before the hour mark, when Thomas made way for Vitolo, who right away started to create problems for Villarreal down the left flank. Our team tried to apply high pressure on the hosts and attack them whenever possible. We had another big chance, this time through Koke, following a fantastic team play. Joao Félix set him up inside the box but our captain struck over the crossbar. The Portuguese started generating great chances for his teammates. He then delivered a perfect pass for Lodi, who connected with the ball but shot wide from close range. It truly was a massive chance to take the lead, and Trippier came on for Arias immediately afterwards. Time was running out, but Atleti were constantly improving their level as the clash progressed. At this point, we were a constant threat for Asenjo. Simeone’s final substitution was bringing Llorente on for Herrera, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make a difference and the game ended 0-0.