Villarreal vs Atalanta 2-2: La Dea Capture Precious Point Away

Atalanta are no strangers by now to the Champions League shores and their seasonal debut at Villarreal proved that the Bergamaschi know what they are doing. Playing against the defending Europa League champions at their den, Gian Piero Gasperini’s band earned a 2-2 tie, gaining one precious point in the night that saw Manchester United shockingly fall to Young Boys in the other game of Group F.

Passionate and offensive-minded as usual, Atalanta took the lead after less than three minutes with Remo Freuler but saw El Submarino Amarillo come from behind before Robins Gosens would set the score at 2-2 and goalkeeper Juan Musso would seal his goal with a super-save during stoppage time. 

The Nerazzurri found the back of the net from their very first chance as Ruslan Malinovskyi served Duvan Zapata in the box and the Colombian delivered the ball to Freuler, who didn’t ask twice to fire it past Gerònimo Rulli and set the visitors off to a good start.

It took more than 20 minutes for the Spaniards to organize themselves but, once they did so, they cared to remind everybody that it is not by chance that they won the Europa League. Musso denied Manu Trigueiros and then Gerard Moreno, but could not do anything on 39 minutes when the former took advantage of a Marten De Roon mistake and fired the ball out of the Argentine goalie’s reach. 

The second half saw Villarreal continue to be in control even though Atalanta managed to test Rulli with Malinovskyi and Zapata, whose shot hit the crossbar. But Gerard Moreno continued to wreck havoc and, after missing an easy chance on 68 minutes, bested Freuler again and served Arnaut Danjuma a fine assist for the Dutchman’s 2-1 goal.

Atalanta had some luck on their side as Francis Coquelin saw red with seven minutes to go, allowing La Dea to have a one-man advantage for the final assault. Which quickly bore fruit as, from a Josip Ilicic cross, Aleksei Miranchuk failed to control the ball, which ended on Gosens’ feet. The German was quick enough to react and put it past Rulli to set the score at 2-2.

Villarreal were dangerous again on 94 minutes and it took a spectacular save from Musso, who parried back a Dani Parejo header from close range, to preserve Atalanta’s hard-earned point. The Bergamaschi will receive Young Boys on September 29 at the Gewiss Stadium to increase their point tally. The Swiss showed tonight that they mean business with a suprising win over Man United, but Gasperini and Atalanta’s European confidence is continuing to grow game after game.    



September 14, 2021 – Champions League 2021-2022 Group F

SCORERS: 5′ Freuler (A), 39′ Trigueros (V), 73′ Danjuma (V), 82′ Gosens (A)

VILLARREAL (4-3-3): Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza (87′ Mario Gaspar); Parejo, Capoue (61’ Coquelin), Trigueros (61′ Gomez); G. Moreno, Dia (61′ Danjuma), Pino (73′ A. Moreno) (Asenjo, Estupinan, Mandi, Iborra, Pena, Alcacer) Coach: Emery
ATALANTA (3-4-2-1): Musso; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti (61′ Demiral); Zappacosta, De Roon (69′ Koopmeiners), Freuler, Gosens; Malinovskyi (69′ Pasalic), Pessina; Zapata (69′ Ilicic) (Rossi, Sportiello, Lovato, Mahele, Pezzella, Scalvini, Piccoli) Coach: Gasperini

REFEREE: Turpin (France)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Capoue, G. Moreno, Pino (V), De Roon (A); Red Card: Coquelin (V)