Spanish Primera Division: Villarreal limped their way to a 2-0 win over strugglers Granada to keep alive their hopes of a top-four finish
Last Updated: 07/02/15 8:01pm
Villarreal limped their way to a 2-0 win over Primera Division strugglers Granada to keep the pressure on fellow Champions League chasers Valencia and Sevilla.
Mateo Musacchio broke the deadlock after the half-hour mark from close range but Granada refused to lie down after going behind and kept on searching for an equaliser until Gerard Moreno's last-minute goal made a home win certain.
Villarreal remain in sixth position but are now level on points with Valencia and a point behind Sevilla, with both sides in action on Sunday.
Granada, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone but on this evidence they will believe they have a good chance at survival.
Marcelino made a number of changes from the team that lost 3-2 to Barcelona the previous week, perhaps with Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg match with the Catalans in mind.
Top scorer Luciano Vietto was rested as was fellow attacker Denis Cheryshev, allowing Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell to make his first league start for the Yellow Submarine.
Ikechukwu Uche almost gave Villarreal a dream start when he shot just over the bar in the first minute, but the hosts did not play well in the first half as they struggled to create space in the face of a Granada side who are enjoying a new lease of life under Abel Resino.
Granada winger Lass Bangoura caused a few headaches for Villarreal's defence but was unable to test Sergio Asenjo, while at the other end Oier Olazabal kept out a powerful effort from Moreno.
Despite their less than convincing performance, Villarreal took the lead on the half hour mark. Bruno chipped the ball into the path of Moreno and the midfielder fought off a challenge from a defender to cross to the near post to Musacchio, although the ball was bundled over the line with the help of a touch from Diego Mainz.
Granada continued to be uncomfortable opponents in the second half.
Jhon Cordoba thought he should have been awarded a penalty after tussling with a Villarreal defender in the area and later hit the post, although the flag had already gone up against the Colombian striker for offside.
The visitor's best chance to equalise arrived with 10 minutes left, the ball dropping to Fran Rico in the area but Asenjo reacted quickly to keep the ball out.
Granada kept pressing and pressing for an equaliser but were punished on the counter attack in injury time.
Substitute Cheryshev raced forward on the break and then put the ball on a plate for Moreno to nudge the ball in.