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Athletic win 3-1 over unfortunate Villarreal

The victory lifts Athletic into 12th place in La Liga. Villarreal remain in sixth, the final Europa League spot.

Athletic win 3-1 over unfortunate Villarreal

Villarreal: Spanish football club Athletic Bilbao defeated Villarreal 3-1, picking up a rare away win while inflicting a second straight loss on the hosts.

The victory lifts Athletic into 12th place in La Liga. Villarreal remain in sixth, the final Europa League spot, but lead Sevilla by just one point with seven matches left to play, reports Efe.

Monday's match started badly for the home side. Just minutes after Athletic's Iñigo Cordoba scored in the 4th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead, the players and spectators at La Ceramica fell into a stunned silence when they saw Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals fall to the ground far from the play.

Fornals did not lose consciousness and wanted to stay in the game, but the team doctor insisted that he go the hospital for tests, which determined that the player had experienced an episode of lightheadedness known as presyncope.

Villarreal struggled to get the past the pair of early setbacks and Athletic dominated for the rest of the first half.

The Bilbao side retained the initiative after the break, thanks mainly to the pace of Iñaki Williams, who scored in the 51st minute to make it 2-0 for Athletic.

While the hosts continued to flounder on the attack, Carlos Bacca managed to cut the Athletic lead in half with a goal on the counter in the 67th minute.

Invigorated, the hosts pushed hard for the equaliser and Athletic found themselves off-balance until Villarreal were struck yet again by bad luck: an injury to Jaume Costa in the 80th minute that reduced the squad to 10 men because they had already used all their substitutions.

Iker Muniain, returning after being sidelined for six months with an injury, scored in the 87th minute to assure Athletic of coming away with all three points.