Villarreal ties Zaragoza, settles for fifth draw of pre-season

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Vila-real (Spain), Aug 9 (IANS) Spanish-league club Villarreal played to a draw for the fifth time in the pre-season, tying second-division side Zaragoza 1-1 in a friendly match.

Villarreal dominated possession at the outset of the contest played before around 3,000 fans at its Ciudad Deportiva training ground on Wednesday, reports Efe.

But with the exception of the creative play of midfielder Pablo Fornals and the aerial game of Alfonso Pedraza, the host side was unable to pose much of a threat against the visitors’ goal over the first 15 minutes.

That changed at the 17th minute mark when Villarreal took advantage of a mistake by Zaragoza in its half of the field, entered the opposing penalty area and drew a foul from defender Diogo Verdasca.

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Forward Gerard Moreno then proceeded to do the honors from the 12-yard mark to give Villarreal a 1-0 lead.

That advantage held up until the start of the second half when Pep Biel scored the equalizer for Zaragoza after receiving a pass from Oliver Buff.

Seemingly fueled by that goal, Zaragoza played Villarreal on more equal terms until around the midway point of the second half and even had a chance to take the lead on a play set up by Alberto Soro that forced goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to make a save.

The hosts re-established their dominance in the latter stages but only had scoring chances in the final minutes, with Samu Castillejo nearly scoring on a volley before goalkeeper Alvaro Raton stopped a shot by Nicola Sansone.

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Villarreal will kick off play in the 2018-19 La Liga season on August 18 with a home match against Real Sociedad.

–IANS

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