Roberto Soriano snatched a smash ‘n' grab winner for Villarreal as Atletico Madrid were made to rue their inability to turn dominance into goals.
Diego Simeone’s side controlled the majority of the contest at the Vicente Calderon, with the visitors to the capital struggling to even keep hold of possession in the first half. They improved slightly after the half time break, but even then it looked like being a matter of time until Atleti found the opener.
But the introduction of Cedric Bakambu changed the dynamic of the match, with the speedy Congolese winger creating the chance on the counter attack that led to Soriano’s winner against the run of play.
Antoine Griezmann and co. toiled to create one last chance to salvage a point, but a stubborn Villarreal side held out for a win that significantly boosts their chances of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.
TALKING POINT - How costly could Yannick Carrasco’s injury prove?
There was a sense that Simeone was using the second half of this match as an opportunity to give some of his fringe players and players recovering from injury some game time ahead of next week’s Champions League semi finals. This backfired, however, as Yannick Carrasco suffered a shoulder injury and had to be withdrawn just minutes after coming on. How costly could that prove? Atleti will need him against Real Madrid.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Saul Niguez
If Spain is looking for a heir to Xavi’s throne, they have one in Saul Niguez. Atletico Madrid might have ended up on the wrong end of the end result, but this was a showcase of the young midfielder’s quality, dictating the tempo and direction of the game from his position in the middle of the pitch. It’s incredible to think he’s still only 22 years old.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Soriano stuns Atleti as Villarreal win at Calderon