SUPER EAGLES

Samuel Chukwueze shines despite Villarreal dropping points in La Liga

Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze assisted the equalizer as Villareal were held to a draw by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

Samuel Chukwueze

Following their midweek Champions League triumph, Villareal crashed back to earth with a draw in their La Liga clash against Athletic Bilbao. Unai Emery's men made a couple of changes with their return leg against Bayern Munich in mind, and it took them a while to settle in.

With the first half-hour failing to excite, the game suddenly roared into life in the final quarter of the first half. Bilbao fans were furious with the referee for refusing to give a penalty when Ivorian defender Serge Aurier blocked a shot with his elbow.

Just before the break, a good pass from Inaki Williams put Iker Muniain through on goal, and after rounding the keeper, he played in Raul Garcia to stroke the ball into the empty net.

Bilbao fans were on the edge of their seats again when it looked as though VAR would rule the goal out for offside, but it stood, and Marcelino's men took the lead into the halftime break.

Exactly on the hour mark, Villarreal hit the visitors on the counter, and Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze made a decent flick into the path of Alfonso Pedraza who fired a powerful shot into the bottom of the net. That goal would have been memorable for Pedraza, who turned 26 today.

Last week's Champions League hero Arnaut Danjuma missed a glorious opportunity after his weak shot was too close to Unai Simon, who made an easy save.

Shortly after that, Simon rushed out to punch a whipped ball by Chukwueze, taking no risks after the Nigerian already punished his team once.

Villareal squandered a few more chances but held on to the solitary point, which now keeps them in sixth place and contention for a Europa League spot next season.

Villarreal faces Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final match on Tuesday.

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