Referee Vicandi Garrido influential in Villarreal - Málaga
If someone were to ask Villarreal and Málaga what the main reason for the result of this match was, the answer would almost certainly be referee Vicando Garrido. The official decided he was going to be the main man at La Céramica, and he was, getting almost every major decision wrong.
He missed a clear penalty from Trigueros on Charles, that would have put Málaga, already 0-1 up, on course for a win. Five minutes later he put Villarreal back in the match with a penalty that looked like it wasn't as Rosales tangled with Sansone, Bruno converting for the home side. And then in the 71st minute he sent off Soriano for 'accidental retaliation', the Villarreal player catching Camacho after the Málaga player went in on him.
Málaga started the game as they finished: angry. They've not won away from home this season, and haven't won full stop since November. Luis Hernández controlled things at the back, Camacho and debutant José Rodríguez brought solidity to the centre and Keko was a touch of joy in attack until he ran out of steam. Charle's goal started from Keko, the winger giving the ball to Rosales, who played a difficult ball in, which Soriano failed to deal with, and was headed home by the striker.
Villarreal wake up
The goal was an alarm clock for sleepy Villarreal. They are clearly a side who don't enjoy early games, having already lost to Eibar and Alavés playing in this slot. But once the goal had gone in they started making life difficult for Málaga, moving efficiently between the lines and sharply in attack.
Sansone had a stupendous chance on the 18th minute and 10 minutes later the superb Kameni went flying to stop Trigueros celebrating. Villarreal had the ball in the net on 33 minutes, but Adrian was clearly offside, and the officials got this decision right.
Málaga showed in the second half that they still don't believe much in themselves, dropping back and aiming to hold on to their 0-1 lead with all the strength they could summon. Villarreal continued probing patiently, but were causing Málaga little real trouble.
Referee goes into overdrive
And then the 55th minute arrived and the outcome of the match was decided by the referee, ignoring one penalty, giving one that probably wasn't and sending Soriano off for little reason.
Villarreal had looked the more likely to win it after they'd gone level, and even with a man down they kept going for the three points. But Málaga ran out the clock with lots of interruptions, and some fine keeping from Kameni.
The result leaves Villarreal in sixth place on 36 points and Málaga in 14th on 23.