The Villarreal tied with him Atalanta (2-2) on his return to Champions League a decade later. Unai Emery’s team reacted to the Italians’ initial goal and went 2-1 just minutes from the end of the match. But Gosens did not forgive in the small area and returned the tables to the scoreboard at the Estadio de la Cerámica. In addition, the locals ended the match with one less after Coquelin was sent off for a double yellow.
Festive atmosphere at the Estadio de la Cerámica to celebrate the return of the Villarreal to Champions League a decade later. The Submarine received at home an already regular in the last editions of the competition, the Atalanta, on the first day of Group F, which had started with surprise. In Switzerland minutes before, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United (2-1) had fallen to the Young Boys.
For the Champions League premiere, Unai Emery recovered Gerard Moreno and Parejo, the first of them debuting in the competition, as well as other of his teammates such as Manu Trigueros or Pau Torres, all in the starting eleven. Opposite, Gasperini’s team also recovered one of its most decisive men, Zapata, upstairs, while his usual partner, Muriel, stayed in Bergamo due to injury.
The Villarreal He took the initiative with the ball in the first stages of the match, but it did not take him long to see the offensive nature of his rivals. The Italian team was very incisive on the bands, especially with Zappacosta. Goalkeeper Rulli had to stretch to catch a cross from the side to Zapata in minute 3. It was the first notice of Gasperini’s.
Shortly after, in another action born of the band, the goal of the Atalanta. The ball reached Zapata in the area, the forward took advantage of his corpulence to keep it between two defenses and unload behind Freulen, that sent her inside after touching the stick. Shortly after, another dangerous occasion came from the Italians, frustrated by a low hand from Rulli to the shot of Gosens.
The nerves were noticeable in the team of Unai Emery, more after the goal of the visitors and the verticality of the Italians. But little by little the chances were coming for the Submarine, which showed itself more in the rival field. Trigueros tried it first with a shot at the turn, then Pau Torres with a header in a corner. Gerard Moreno also shot at the near post, but Musso deflected.
Villarreal insisted and the award for Emery’s men came in the 39th minute. A ball caught in the area by Trigueros that carried inside and that served to put the 1-1. A decade later, Villarreal once again sang a goal in the Champions League. The tie was maintained at halftime, despite the fact that Gerard Moreno had the second with a header, avoided with a stop by Musso.
At the restart, Freuler measured Rulli’s concentration with a shot from the edge as soon as he received the ball. As in the first half, Atalanta came out very offensive, putting Villarreal in trouble, whom Gosens forgave in the area. The local team managed to improve the sensations after a good ball from Gerard to Yeremi, who cut his pair, but whose center was left without a finisher.
Another one for Gerard Moreno
With 30 minutes to go, Unai Emery made a triple change. He sat Trigueros, Dia and Capoue and gave entrance to Moi, Danjuma and Coquelin, to give the team some refreshment. The passing of the minutes took a toll on both teams, who decided to take their foot off the gas for a few moments. In the 67th minute, a clear chance came for Gerard Moreno, but the forward missed the goalkeeper.
After another recovery came the second goal for Villarreal. Parejo was in charge of recovering the ball, extending for Gerard Moreno, who filtered the pass to Danjuma. The signing of the Submarine, from Bournemouth, defined perfectly before the goalkeeper and led the score to 2-1.
The joy had settled in Villarreal but Gosens, who had already had his chances throughout the game, took advantage of an error by the yellow defense and did not forgive in the small area. Atalanta tied (2-2) and silenced the Estadio de la Cerámica in the 80th minute, which would still see how his team was left with one less after Coquelin was sent off for a double yellow, who had entered from the bench. Villarreal looked for the goal until the end, with another chance for Gerard, but in the end each team took a point on the first day of the group stage.