Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze was on target but Villarreal lost 2-1 away to Alaves in a La Liga game staged at Mendizorroza in Vitoria-Gasteiz on Saturday.
The winger has been in good form for the Yellow Submarine in the last couple of games, and it explains why coach Unai Emery started him on the right flank.
It was the hosts who settled quickly and needed just four minutes to get the ball in the back of the net.
Luis Rioja's good cross into the danger zone was intercepted by the defenders and it went out for a corner. From the set piece, Joselu managed to flick the ball with his head to the unmarked Victor Laguardia, who maximised the chance to hand his team the lead.
The first meaningful contribution for Chukwueze was after 15 minutes when he received the ball in the 18-yard area, but his one-time effort was way off target.
In the 30th minute, he once again missed a chance to make when he took too long to make a decision in the danger zone, and the opposing defender successfully stole the ball from him.
It happened to be a costly miss as Alaves doubled their advantage a minute later. Ruben Duarte found Gonzalo Escalante in the area and the latter cut in beautifully before rifling the ball past the goalkeeper.
Chukwueze, finally, managed to score in the 47th minute. He controlled a Giovani Lo Celso pass well before advancing into the danger zone and unleashing a powerful shot past Fernando Pacheco in the Alaves goal.
The goal set up a tense finale but the hosts held on to bag maximum points.
The loss is arguably a confidence blow for Villarreal who will host Liverpool on Tuesday in the second leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-finals.
The Spanish outfit fell 2-0 in the first leg staged at the Anfield on Wednesday.