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Chukwueze provides assist as Villarreal hold Athletic Bilbao

22:29 GMT+3 09/04/2022
Samuel Chukwueze
The Super Eagles played a key role as the Yellow Submarine avoided defeat against the Lions

Samuel Chukwueze provided an assist as Villarreal settled for a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in Saturday’s La Liga encounter.

The Lions had taken the lead through Raul Garcia in the first half, however, the encounter ended on a no winner, no vanquished note thanks to Alfonso Pedraza’s leveller courtesy of the Nigerian’s last pass.

Still basking in the euphoria of their 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League during the week, the Yellow Submarine welcomed the Lions to Estadio de la Ceramica - aiming to consolidate on that result.

The first real chance fell to the visitors at the half-hour mark, however, Oscar De Marcos’ tame header from Inaki Williams’ cross was easily stopped by goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

A few minutes later, Bilbao felt aggrieved to be denied a penalty after Serge Aurier blocked Iker Muniain’s shot with his elbow.

Nevertheless, they took the lead two minutes before the half-time break through Garcia who profited from Muniain to fire past goalkeeper Asenjo.

The goal was initially ruled out for offside, the decision was overturned after referee Carlos del Cerro consulted VAR. 

Needing a win to stay in contention for a place in Europe next season, Unai Emery’s men stepped up their game in the second half with Chukwueze and Alfonso Pedraza missing glorious chances.

Following the introduction of Gerard Moreno, Arnaut Danjuma and Giovanni Lo Celso, Villarreal were unrelenting in their chase for goals.

However, they restored parity through Pedraza on the hour mark after he was teed up by Nigeria international Chukwueze.

With no goals scored in the remaining minutes, both teams settled for a point apiece. 

The Nigerian was subbed off for Francis Coquelinin the 78th minute but Algeria’s Aissa Mandi and Cote d’Ivoire’s Serge Aurier were in action from start to finish. 

Due to injury worries, Senegal international Boulaye Dia expectedly was not listed for action. 

With this result, Villarreal remain seventh in the log after accruing 46 points from 31 matches as Athletic Bilbao occupy the eighth position with a point less. 

The Yellow Submarine are guests of Getafe in their next league outing. Prior to that, they face Bundesliga giants Bayern in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday.