Samuel Chukwueze returned to the starting lineup for Villarreal as the Yellow Submarines continued their unbeaten return to LaLiga with a thrilling stalemate with Sevilla at Estadio de la Ceramica on Monday.
Villarreal twice went ahead but were pegged back each time by a rampant Sevilla who climbed above Atletico Madrid to third-place having played a game more.
Paco Alcacer’s 18th-minute opener for the hosts was cancelled by Sergio Escudero 39th-minute strike – the first time Villarreal’s defence would be breached in four games.
With half-time approaching Pau Torres struck on the stroke of the break to send the hosts into the interval 2-1 up.
Sevilla were back on level terms seventeen minutes into the restart as Munir El Haddadi connected sweetly with Jesus Navas’ cross to fire a precise left-footed volley past Sergio Asenjo.
The shared spoils mean Javi Calleja’s wards jump above Real Sociedad into sixth-place by a single point although Sociedad can regain their position if they beat Celta Vigo on Wednesday.
Having come from the bench in the Yellow Submarines 1-0 victory at Granada, the 21-year-old Chukwueze was restored for his 15th start and 30th in LaLiga as both sides sought to strengthen their cases for European football.
The Nigerian came very close to adding a third goal for his side when they were 2-1 up but was foiled by good defensive work from Sevilla before the hosts equalised.
El Haddadi’s equaliser seemed to spur the visitors who went close on two occasions but were thwarted by miraculous saves from Asenjo each time.
In the end, both sides held on to maintain their unbeaten runs with Villarreal since the resumption of the league.
Elsewhere, Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo started for the second straight game as relegation-threatened Leganes kept just their fifth clean sheet of the season in the goalless stalemate at home to Granada.
Nigerian midfielder Ramon Azeez was also on from the start for the visitors before making way in the second half.
Omeruo reprised his role in the centre of defence from last week’s 1-1 draw at Mallorca but there was no place for compatriot Chidozie Awaziem who was consigned to the bench for the duration of the encounter.
19th-placed Leganes desperately needed a win to boost their survival chances as victory would have seen Javier Aguirre’s men leapfrog Mallorca into 18th leaving them two points from safety.
But Miguel Angel Guerrero wasted a golden opportunity for Leganes when his weak penalty was saved by Rui Silva in goal for Granada. Leganes
In the absence of a win, Aguirre can take positives from their first clean sheets in seven games and hopes it can provide a solid enough foundation for Leganes who are four points from safety to ensure their topflight status with seven games left to play.