Villarreal loses again, drops to sixth in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Villarreal followed its surprise loss to last-place Malaga by falling at home to Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Monday, dropping to sixth place in the Spanish league.
The new setback leaves Villarreal in danger of missing out on a Europa League spot next season, as only the teams in fifth, sixth, and seventh places qualify.
It was the first win in four matches in all competitions for Athletic, which stayed 12th in the league.
Inigo Cordoba put the visitors ahead less than five minutes in, and Inaki Williams doubled the lead early in the second half. Carlos Bacca halved the deficit in the 67th, but Iker Muniain sealed Athletic’s victory in the final minutes at Ceramica Stadium.
“We conceded too early,” Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo said. “They pressured us and created many chances.”
Villarreal’s Alvaro Gonzalez was sent off with a second yellow card shortly after Athletic’s third goal.
Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals passed out a few minutes into the match, collapsing to the ground and prompting doctors to rush to his assistance. Fornals had to be substituted, but left the field on his own.
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