Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze was on target, but Villarreal suffered a 2-1 loss to Deportivo Alaves in their La Liga clash at Mendizorrotza.
Chukwueze on target but Villarreal suffer a second straight defeat
The Nigerian international scored his third league goal of the season, but it was not enough to save the Yellow Submarines from defeat.
Chukwueze had cut a frustrated figure in Villarreal's 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday. However, he was lively in the game against Alaves on Saturday.
However, Villarreal started on the wrong note as they went down inside four minutes. Alaves took the lead inside four minutes through Víctor Laguardia, who headed home a corner kick from Joselu.
It got worse for Unai Emery's men when Gonzalo Escalante doubled Alaves' advantage in the 30th-minute. Alaves' two goals came against the run of play as Villarreal had 70% of the possession.
But despite dominating proceedings, it was Alaves that went into the break with a two-goal lead. Villarreal resumed the second half with more purpose, and they got their reward immediately through Chukwueze.
The 22-year-old Super Eagles winger slotted home a ball from Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso. Chukwueze was Villarreal's best player on the day, completing 27 passes, including three key ones. He also had seven successful dribbles out of ten attempts.
But despite his early goal in the second half, Villarreal could not find the leveller. The Yellow Submarines piled pressure on Alaves' goal but could not find the all-important equaliser.
The result leaves them nine points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid and five behind fifth-placed Real Betis.
Emery's men will now turn their attention to their second leg UEFA Champions League semi-final clash against Liverpool.