By Lloyd Webb at Emirates Stadium
Matias Nahuel Leiva scored a 16th-minute winner as Villarreal beat Wolfsburg 2-1 in the first game of the Emirates Cup 2015.
With all the goals coming in the first half, it was Villarreal who took an early lead within eight minutes through full back Mario Gaspar.
However, they were pegged back immediately as Ivan Perisic finished off a good move for Wolfsburg.
Leiva got what was the winning goal just six minutes later as Wolfsburg were frustrated by the well-drilled Villarreal on the first day of the tournament.
SETTING THE SCENE
Nicklas Bendtner’s return to the Emirates was delayed until the 59th minute as he started the match on the bench alongside former Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle.
Another ex-Blues player, Kevin De Bruyne, was named in an exciting attacking line-up featuring Croatia forward Perisic.
The first goal of the game only took eight minutes as Villarreal’s Gaspar curled a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Wolfsburg pegged Villarreal back immediately as, in the 10th minute, Perisic poked Daniel Caligiuri’s teasing cross home from a couple of yards.
Leiva put Villarreal back in front soon afterwards with a composed finish after a defensive error saw Leo Baptistao win a header to play him through on goal.
Baptistao was involved after the break too and had a chance in the 55th minute when he found space, but dragged his effort wide.
Wolfsburg continued to mount pressure on the Spanish club but Villarreal’s well-drilled defence thwarted the Germans’ attacks.
Not even Bendtner’s introduction midway through the second half could create any chances for Wolfsburg, leaving Villarreal to grab the first win of the tournament.
Emirates Cup 2015 table
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.