Villarreal 3-0 Granada: Villarreal punish defensive Granada
Villarreal secured a comfortable three-goal victory against Granada, who had sat back to defend and ultimately paid the price, for inviting the hosts to attack.
Visiting Granada set themselves deep defensively, looking to soak up the pressure from the home side and hit on the counter. Their game-plan didn’t work so well though, as the Villarreal players ran at their lines, sending wave after wave of attacks.
After plenty of half-chances a dinked ball over the Granada defence and Jonathan Pereira was a fraction from the connection as he broke the offside trap in the 22nd minute.
The pressure kept coming from the home side though and after Cani broke wide on the left in the 30th minute, he cut inside and with his route to goal blocked, fed the ball for Bruno to drive a powerfully struck shot from the edge of the area, into the back of the net. No chance for Granada keeper Roberto.
Villarreal kept up the pressure and in the 33rd minute, Mario got forward from right-back, forged his way into the area, but near the tight angle of the byline, shot into the side netting. Two moments later, Jonathan Pereira received the ball, stepped into the Granada area and struck a low drive towards goal, but Roberto was down well to smother.
Granada at last stepped forward, pushing their defensive and midfield lines higher upfield and began to create more pressure themselves. After forcing a couple of corners that were cleared by the Villarreal defence, Brahimi decided to go on a mazy run. He kept going, past one defender, then another, but looking as if he wanted to dribble the ball into the back of the net, he was eventually blocked at the near-post by Villarreal keeper Asenjo.
More pressure game in the final moments from both sides, but as the referee called for the half-time interval, Villarreal deservedly had the one-goal advantage.
Villarreal were quick out of the blocks in the second half, applying more pressure. In the 48th minute, they doubled their lead as Giovani burst through the middle to tab home a cross from the right.
It really was an uphill struggle from there for Granada. Manager Lucas Alcaraz made a double change, with Ighalo and Riki coming on for El-Arabi and Brahimi, but despite briefly showing more attacking impetus and both the substitutes having chances, the majority of the play was still with Villarreal.
After a spell with few clear chances, Villarreal eventually scored the third goal of the night. Good work from Giovani and Cani, before a headed finish from Pina.
A strong attacking performance and comfortable victory for Villarreal
Villarreal 3-0 Granada
Referee: Hernández Hernández
Villarreal XI: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Dorado; Aquino (63′), Jokic, Bruno, Pina (83′), Cani; J.Pereira (71′), Giovani.
Goals: Bruno (30′), Giovani (48′), Pina (82′)
Subs: Moi Gómez (63′), Perbet (71′), Trigueros (83′)
Granada XI: Roberto; Nyom, Diakhaté, Murillo, Brayan Angulo; Pereira, Iturra, Yebda, Brahimi (56′); Buonanotte, El-Arabi (56′).
Subs: Riki (56′), Ighalo (56′), Foulquier
Yellow Cards: Buonanotte (80′)