Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Oscar's Albion beaten on his Amex bow
Oscar Garcia's first home friendly in charge of Albion ended in defeat at The Amex tonight.
The Seagulls were beaten 3-1 by Spanish La Liga outfit Villarreal.
The visitors took command of an entertaining contest with two well-taken goals in the space of five minutes in the second half as Albion suffered the first setback of their pre-season programme.
It took a strong Albion starting line-up, featuring the fit-again Bruno, less than two minutes to score their first home goal under Oscar.
Leo Ulloa won the ball in the air for Ashley Barnes to fire in his second goal in successive friendlies from eight yards after striking from longer range against Sporting Gijon in Spain last week.
Tomasz Kuszczak was the busier goalkeeper in the first half, as Villarreal awoke from their tardy start.
The Seagulls' Polish No. 1 made saves from Cani and Hernan Perez, while diminutive striker Jonathan Pereira Rodriguez clipped the crossbar for the free-flowing visitors with a header following a corner.
Albion had much less of the ball than they are accustomed to domestically but their ratio of goals and chances has been good so far in pre-season under Oscar and there was more of a tempo to their passing.
Sergio Asenjo, Villarreal's new keeper, did just enough to deny Andrea Orlandi when he was clean through and Will Buckley went close from 20 yards.
Midfielder Cani levelled for Villarreal after 40 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the box which appeared to take a slight deflection past Kuszczak.
Albion responded quickly to the first goal they had conceded in open play during pre-season. Ulloa almost restored the lead before the break when he lifted the ball over the onrushing Asenjo but Mario Gaspar headed off the line.
It turned into a colourful spectacle in the second half, Albion re-emerging in their yellow away kit, Villarreal swapping yellow for blue and the officials purple for silver.
The match became increasingly disjointed as both teams made multiple changes, including an Amex debut for Albion for former MK Dons left-back Adam Chicksen.
The disrupted Seagulls fell behind in the 67th minute, Pereira Rodriguez finding the roof of the net from a clever back-heel by Perbet.
Their deficit doubled five minutes later, one of the substitutes Pedro Rios beating Kuszczak's half-time replacement Casper Ankergren with a crisp shot on the turn from Javier Aquino's cross.
Inigo Calderon almost pulled a goal back when he hooked a late effort onto the roof of the Villarreal net.
Albion complete their warm-up programme against Norwich at The Amex on Tuesday before launching their Championship campaign at Leeds next Saturday.
Albion (4-1-2-3): Kuszczak (Ankergren 46); Bruno (Chicksen 61), Greer (Dunk 80), Upson (El-Abd 62), Calderon; Bridcutt (Ince 90); Crofts (Forster-Caskey 62), Orlandi (March 70); Buckley (Dickenson 80), Barnes (Barker 80), Ulloa. Subs not used: Brezovan, Maksimenko, Richards, LuaLua.
Villarreal (4-4-2): Asenjo (Fernandez 72); Gaspar (Alic 79), Musacchio, Pantic, Costa (Jokic 46); Perez (Aquino), Trigueros (Ramos 79), Soriano (Pina 46), Cani (Rios 46); Perbet (Juanto 72), Pereira Rodriquez (Juan Camara 72). Subs not used: None.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Albion bookings: Calderon (54) foul, Crofts (57) foul.
Villarreal bookings: None.
Comments are closed on this article.