Bilbao draw at Villarreal on Armando yellow card
March 19, 2014, 12:07 am TWN
VILLARREAL, Spain -- Aritz Aduritz made up for a penalty miss with a late equalizer to give Athletic Bilbao a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in the Spanish league on Monday.
Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo correctly dove to his left to save Aduritz's penalty before halftime and the hosts went ahead right after the break when midfielder Oliver Torres dispossessed Mikel Balenziaga to set up Tomas Pina for an easy goal.
But Gabriel Armando's second yellow card saw Villarreal reduced to 10 men for the last 25 minutes and Aduritz took advantage of the space to head home an equalizer in the 83rd minute of a tightly contested affair with few clear scoring opportunities.
"When they went down a man they sat back and defended and made it difficult for us to get to the area," Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde said. "They didn't let us play our best game."
Fourth-place Bilbao saw its lead over Basque neighbor Real Sociedad slip to six points with the draw, while Villarreal is seven points back of Bilbao, which holds the Spanish league's last Champions League qualifying place. Sociedad beat Valencia 1-0 on Sunday.
"We were better until we went down to 10, but even then they weren't able to create much," said Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia, whose team finished with 10 men against Bilbao for the second time this season. "Fourth is a long way away because Athletic are a very good team. I think they are favorites to finish fourth."
Real Madrid leads the league with 70 points from 28 rounds ahead of Sunday's meeting with Barcelona, which is four points behind in third. Atletico Madrid has 67 points.