A lack of cutting edge against Maccabi Haifa (0-0)
A lack of cutting edge against Maccabi Haifa (0-0)

Villarreal must win in France to seal direct qualification for the last 16 of the Europa League

Villarreal were held to a 0-0 draw by Maccabi Haifa. The Yellows were unable to break down the Israeli wall in a drab match in which they lacked the accuracy and clarity in the final third to win the game. With this result, the Submarine must beat Rennes in France to finish first in the group stage and avoid the play-off round against the Champions League teams.

The Yellows faced the last home game of the Europa League group stage. Marcelino’s men hosted Maccabi Haifa for the postponed match of the third matchday against the Hebrews. The three points at stake were extremely valuable for the Submarine’s interests. The three points at stake were extremely valuable for the Submarine, as they gave them the chance to go into the final matchday as co-leaders of Group F alongside Rennes. The French side await the Yellow Submarine in the final match of the continental group stage. And all it takes is a win to finish top of the group. Another result would automatically put the Submarine in second place.

Marcelino’s men started the better and enjoyed the first chances of the match. Before the tenth minute, Santi Comesaña came close to scoring the first goal, anticipating a shot from Álex Baena’s corner. The shot, clearly crossed, went just wide.

After the attempt, the Submarine showed persistence, knocking at their opponents’ door. Before reaching the midway point of the first half, the referee disallowed a goal by Ben Brereton, who – as was the case in Seville – has not been getting any luck. In the final stretch of the first half, the Yellows reduced their pressure up front and lost presence in the opposition half.

After the restart, Marcelino’s team continued to look for the opposition goal, but were unable to find the target in the final metres. With the passing of the minutes and the introduction of Pierrot in the Hebrew team, the visitors stretched and were able to generate a couple of dangerous approaches to the area defended by Reina.

Neither side managed to break the deadlock and the 0-0 scoreline was final at the Estadio de la Cerámica. To claim top spot, the Yellows need to win in France.


Villarreal CF: Reina; Foyth (A. Pedraza, m. 57), Gabbia, J. Cuenca, A. Altimira; I. Akhomach, Santi C. V. (Coquelin, m. 57), Capoue, M. Trigueros (J. Pascual., m. 84); Álex B. (A. J. Morales, m. 46), Brereton Díaz (Gerard, m. 67).

Maccabi Haifa FC: Keouf; Sundgren (Feingold, m. 61), Gershon, Simic, Kandil; Hagag (Podgoreanu, m. 60), Cafumana (Naor, m. 78), Mohamed (Jaber, m. 43); Khalaili (Pierrot, m. 46), David, Refaelov.

Referee: Nicholas Walsh (Scotland). Booked: Foyth, Capoue, A. Pedraza (Villarreal CF), Refaelov, Naor (Maccabi Haifa FC).

Matchday information: Game between Villarreal CF and Maccabi Haifa FC, corresponding to the rescheduled Matchday 3 of the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League group stage. at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Attendance: 9,365.