Villarreal come out on top in Turkey and guarantee their place in the Round of 32 of the Europa League as top of the group
Villarreal beat Sivasspor by the narrowest of margins (0-1) and seal a first-place finish in Group I and place in the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League. The Yellows made Chukwueze’s only goal of the game count, which came about as a result of some great combination play and gave Villarreal their fourth win in five games in the European competition.
Villarreal went into the tie against Sivasspor with one aim: to guarantee a top spot in Group I and qualify for the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. To do so, Emery set up with a mix of youth and experience. Iborra was the only starter who didn’t change with respect to the previous LaLiga match against Real Sociedad, with Emery making ten changes to the lineup.
Villarreal’s front line had an average age hardly over twenty. Chukwueze, Fer Niño, Baena and Take were backed by Emery to take on the Turkish defence from the outset. And there was more experience at the back with Iborra, Coquelin, Jaume Costa and Funes Mori.
The first clear chance of the game came after just five minutes of play. Juan Foyth placed his effort wide from close range from a Take Kubo cross.
Villarreal came close to breaking the deadlock again in the 19th minute. Coquelin’s header coming back off the post after a superb ball in from Jaume Costa from the left wing.
In the 35th minute, it was Álex Baena this time who tried his luck against Samassa from long range and it fell just wide. The young midfielder, who has scored two goals in European competition this season, was one of the Yellows’ key players in the first 45 minutes.
The second half started with little tempo and scarce opportunities. Emery put Yeremy, Parejo and Trigueros onto the pitch to add quality in the middle of the park. As a result of the substitutions the Submarine took control of the game and went in search of a goal in earnest. And in the 74th minute they got it. Trigueros played an excellent ball over the Sivasspor back line to find Jaume Costa, who played a ball across goal to Chukwueze to tap home.
The Nigerian’s only goal of the game was enough to give Villarreal their fourth win in five games in Europe and guarantee qualification to the next round of the competition as leaders of the group with a game in hand. Job done.
Sivasspor: Samassa; Osmanpasa; Appindangoyé, Camara, Erdal; Fajr, Cofie (Claudemir, m. 82), Oztekin, Yalcin (Koné, m. 76), Gradel; and Yatabaré (Ninga, m. 79).
Villarreal CF: Rulli; R. Peña, Foyth, Funes Mori, J. Costa (Estupiñán, m. 75); Iborra, Coquelin (Trigueros, m. 67), Alex. B (Parejo, m. 67), Chukwueze (Gerard, m. 75), F. Niño and Take (Yeremy, m. 57).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 74: Chukwueze.
Referee: Duje Strukan (Croacia): Booked: Fajr y Appindangoyé for Sivasspor, R. Peña for Villarreal.
Information: Match between Sivasspor and Villarreal corresponding to Matchday 5 of the UEFA Europa League group stages played at the Yeni 4 Eylül Stadyumu.