The effects of the Christmas break and the enormous, mutual respect between both clubs played a part in a tentative opening few minutes. Neither side were able to take the reins of the game until Willian José ran onto a Mikel Oyarzabal pass, and beat Asenjo with the deftest of chips. After that the Castellonenses had the greater possession, but Real Sociedad remained firm in defence. On 32 minutes, with no chances of note at either end, Vela took advantage of a moment of indecision in the Villarreal defence to beat Asenjo and send the home fans wild with delight.
The scenario changed little after the break. The visitors looked to get back into the game but Real Sociedad didn’t lose concentration and little by little, showed that they deserved to extend their lead. Oyarzabal added a third with a powerful drive which flew into the roof of the net. But in a move which looks completely innocuous, Trigueros unleashed an unstoppable long-range drive which breathed life into Villarreal. Eusebio’s team have got the New Year off to a good start, but know the difficulties which they will face in the return leg at El Madrigal. Now it’s time to put the Cup to one side and start thinking about another Champions League level rival. On Saturday we are visited by Sevilla – another massive test awaits.
- Match details:
Real Sociedad: Rulli, J. Zaldua, Mikel, I. Martínez, Yuri B., Illarra, Zurutuza (Granero, min. 81), X. Prieto, Carlos V. (Canales, min. 62, Oyarzabal, Willian J. (Juanmi, min. 75).
Villarreal CF: S. Asenjo, Mário, Álvaro, Musacchio, José Ángel, J. Dos Santos (S. Castillejo, min. 76), M. Trigueros, Rodrigo, Soriano, Sansone, Pato (Santos Borré, min. 81).
Goals: 1-0: Willian J., min. 17; 2-0: Carlos V., min. 32; 3-0: Oyarzabal, min. 72; 3-1: M. Trigueros, min. 77.
Referee: Clos Gómez. Booked Willian J. and I. Martínez (Real Sociedad) and Jose Ángel, Samu Castillejo and Soriano (Villarreal).
Attendance: 16,414 spectators.