Unai Emery returns frustrated to Spanish soccer as his Villarreal only drew 1-1


Unai Emery had a frustrating return to Spanish soccer as his Villarreal side was only able to draw 1-1 at home to support Huesca in an eventful La Liga game that ruled out three goals and a major injury to Francis Coquelin of Villarreal.

Real Betis also defeated Alaves 1-0 on Sunday while Real Sociedad claimed a 1-1 draw at Real Valladolid.

Emery’s side had Paco Alcacer’s first-half strikes and Raul Albiol ruled out before Pablo Maffeo made his Huesca debut and gave the visitors the lead in the 42nd minute against the run of play.

Maffeo then gave away a handball penalty from which Gerard Moreno of Villarreal leveled in the 68th, while Coquelin, who made his debut after signing from Valencia, was taken off on a stretcher with ten minutes left.

In a frenzied six-minute stop period, Huesca may have won the match, as Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo denied Joaquin before teammate Jorge Pulido put the ball on the net for the visitors, but the shot was ruled offside.

Betis beat Alaves courtesy of Cristian Tello’s stoppage-time goal, giving coach Manuel Pellegrini a winning start in his first game in charge of the club in Seville.

Following a short corner, Tello collected a pass and cut in at the edge of the area to unleash a left-footed shot that crept inside the near post.

On his return to Spain after four years with Manchester City, veteran goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made an impressive debut for Betis and did well to keep out a header from Alaves’ Rodrigo Battaglia early in the second half.

Sergio Canales had come closest to Betis with a powerful free-kick that hit the crossbar before teeing up Tello for the decisive late goal that got the former Real Madrid, Malaga, and Villarreal coach Pellegrini off to an ideal start on his return to Spain after stinting with Manchester City and West Ham United.

In the other game of the day, Valladolid took the lead against Sociedad in the 39th minute, when Michel tapped down the wing into the net after fine work by Sergi Guardiola.

But they lost their lead due to a moment of madness on the part of keeper Masip, who let Roberto Lopez’s tame free-kick slip through his hands and over the line on the hour mark.

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