Villarreal could not celebrate his return to the Champions League with a win and could only scratch a draw to two goals this Tuesday at the Estadio de la Cerámica against an uncomfortable Atalanta, who created many problems and before which he could not finish his comeback.
The Castellón team had in their hands the three points, of great value for beating a direct rival and for the defeat of Manchester United, after a match in which they began dominated and in which they received the draw, the fifth of the season in five official matches, when he looked better than his rival.
The match did not start too well for the ‘Yellow Submarine’, subjected by the pressure and impetus of the Bergamo team, as aggressive as it is usual and that at times moved many meters away from the premises of the Musso area, disconnecting Gerard Moreno , Yéremi Pino and Dia.
And this best visitor start found a quick reward with the 0-1, which was born on a right wing where Zappacosta was very incisive during the first 45 minutes. A center, after touching Pau Torres, fell to Zapata who protected him well and gave it back where Freuler appeared to send the ball to the net.
The goal did more damage to a Villarreal who was able to receive the second shortly after after a steal by Gosens that ran into a good hand from Rulli and in a dangerous counterattack well led by Pessina, but poorly defined by the Italian international.
However, as the minutes passed, Unai Emery’s men were finding oxygen to have more comfort and the second leg of the first act was more of the Europa League champion, thanks to Gerard Moreno and Trigueros. The striker encountered Musso’s response twice, the second of them shortly after the Talavera midfielder had equalized the contest after a close shot from Pedraza’s pass in a play where Villarreal applied the same medicine to Atalanta.
Villarreal arrived with better feelings at halftime, but the passage through the changing rooms brought back the more dominating version of Gasperini’s team. Rulli took great care in a shot by Malinovsky, Gosens did not hit well alone against the Argentine and Zapata headed to the crossbar after a corner kick, in what was a first carousel of visiting occasions in the first quarter of an hour after the restart.
Emery wanted to react from the bench and put Coquelin (Capoue), Moi Gómez (Trigueros) and Danjuma (Dia) in search of fresh air to shake off the dominance of Bergamo. He did not succeed, although he did have a great chance after an anticipation from Pau Torres that ended in a good ball from the center to Gerard Moreno that the forward did not know how to culminate with a failed attempt at Vaseline.
However, the ‘Submarino’ did not forgive another error in the exit of the visitor ball. Parejo, whose baton was noticed in his first game of the season, stole the ball and connected with Gerard Moreno who sent first a Danjuma who beat Musso with a strong shot to turn the scoreboard at a key moment.
The game was turning ‘yellow’ when Atalanta also demonstrated the survival capacity it has acquired in its two years in the Champions League. Gosens, a headache throughout the second half with his appearances, picked up a fumble in the area to tie.
Instantly, Coquelin saw his second yellow in just seven minutes to leave the locals who had to settle for saving the point, although Musso lengthened the night of ‘nightmare’ for Gerard Moreno with a saving stop in the 93rd minute.