Football Features

From misfits to maestros: Capoue and Parejo run the show as Villarreal draw with Juventus

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:44, 22 February 2022

Etienne Capoue and Dani Parejo dominated midfield as Villarreal held Juventus to a 1-1 draw.

In what was just Villarreal’s third-ever round of 16 Champions League home tie, The Yellow Submarine dominated the game but could only come away with a 1-1 draw.

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Despite facing Juventus, Villarreal showed no fear and dominated the match thanks to two former midfield misfits. Etienne Capoue was a flop at Spurs who resurrected his reputation with Watford, but it was only Watford and when he signed for Villarreal no one expected much.

But by the end of the season, Capoue was voted man of the match for marking Bruno Fernandes out of the 2021 Europa League final.

And then Dani Parejo, after years of loyal brilliance, was forced out at Valencia by owner Peter Lim and joined Villarreal, where he has now formed a formidable partnership with Capoue, as Juventus found out tonight.

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Parej was the pass-master, as always. He took a game-high 89 touches, completing a game-high 73/80 passes (91% completion) and a game-high 46 passes inside the opponents half. He also created 1 chance.

Capoue was the more defensive of the pair, making 2 tackles, 3 interceptions and 1 clearance as he swept up behind his Spanish team-mate. But he was also even more secure with the ball, completing 62/66 passes (94% completion) and, of course, registering the night’s assist.

That assist was a lovely diagonal chipped pass behind the sleepy Adrien Rabiot and into the gap left by Matthijs De Ligt. The man running into that gap? His midfield partner-in-crime Dani Parejo, who took the ball down and finished superbly to make it 1-1.

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The Old Lady somewhat held her own in the middle, to be fair, at least while Manuel Locatelli was on the field. The midfielder was brilliant in terms of winning the ball back and distributing it as well. He made 70 touches, completed 53/63 passes and won the ball back an impressive 9 times.

But as soon as Max Allegri took Locatelli off on 70 minutes, the game went all the way in Villarreal’s favour and Juve were lucky that Adrien Rabiot didn’t receive a red card mere minutes later for a nasty tackle.

Without Locatelli anchoring things, Capoue and Parejo ran riot and had The Yellow Submarine firmly on the front foot until the final whistle. They couldn’t get the win, but will be hopeful of doing the same thing with better results in the second-leg.