First Division - Day 17

Athletic Bilbao 0 - Villarreal 1

Athletic: Aranzubia; Javi González, Lacruz, Karanka, Del Horno; Alkiza, Gurpegui (Julen Guerrero 73'); Joseba Etxeberría (Yeste 89'), Ezquerro, Tiko (Arriaga 55'); Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.
Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Ballesteros, Unai (Quique Alvarez 56'), Arruabarrena; Guayre, Marcos Senna, Farinós (Aranda 87'), Jorge López; Víctor (Josico 73'), Palermo. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Athletic: Gurpegui for Orbaiz / Villarreal: Marcos Senna for Quique Medina.

0-1. 05. Farinós. Picked up loose ball outside area and hit low shot wide of keeper.

Villarreal's new signing Javier Farinós has already started to pay off his transfer fee after he hit the winning goal in his side's 0-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. The ex Valencia midfielder beat Aranzubía with a shot from outside of the area in the fifth minute to take his side away from the danger zone and up to mid-table, ahead of the Basques on goal difference. It was a miracle they did so though, with Bilbao hitting the woodwork no less than four times, Reina and his defence clearing several balls off the line and the referee disallowing a late Urzaiz header for offside.

Heynckes probably knew this was not going to be his night when Ballesteros cleared from Ezquerro, and Gurpegui hit the post on the follow up just before half time. Shortly after the restart Ezquerro thought he had scored when his header came back off the post and bounced along the line before Reina caught it, and Belletti headed an effort off the line which the home side players claimed had crossed over. Gurpegui and Lacruz also hit the woodwork, and Reina saved well from Urzaiz before the visitors were left with ten men when Guayre was sent off for time-wasting.

Still there was no way through, and after referee Ramírez Domínguez turned down an appeal for a penalty on Arriaga, Urzaiz lost his nerves and got himself sent off for a second yellow card after bundling in to an opponent. It was Villarreal's first away win in sixteen months, and after the match the maintenance men were reportedly seen repainting the posts, such a beating had they taken.