The unforgettable run to get into Europe

19 / 03 / 2020

Villarreal CF put together eight wins in a row and qualified for the UEFA Cup in the 2006/07 season

With LaLiga being temporary suspended, here at Villarreal CF, we've decided to periodically relive moments, teams and people which have stood out in the club's history. This Thursday, we want to look back on the Yellows’ best winning run in the top flight of Spanish football. Eight wins in a row which saw Villarreal CF finish fifth in the 2006/07 season, qualifying for European football for the next season.

After a great performance in the 2005/06 Champions League, with Villarreal finishing just short of the continental final, Villarreal finished seventh in LaLiga, qualifying for the Intertoto Cup, a competition which allowed them to qualify for the UEFA Cup, and which brought great memories for the Yellows, as the Submarine had won in in 2003 and 2004.

However, in the summer of 2006, luck was not on the Yellows’ side, losing to Maribor in Round 3. This meant Villarreal wouldn’t play in European football for the 2006/07 season.

Without football during the week, apart from the Copa del Rey, Villarreal focused on performing well domestically. With a solid block and top footballers like Marcos Senna, Diego Forlán, Juan Román Riquelme, Tacchinardi and Arruabarrena, there were notable signings, such as Robert Pirés, Nihat Kahveci, Cani and Fabricio Fuentes.

Under Manuel Pellegrini’s management, Villarreal CF started the 2006/07 hoping to qualify for European competition once more. However, a lack of consistency and some knocks picked up along the way, saw the Submarine sit 12th in mid-April with 30 games played, 12 points from sixth place.

With only eight games left until the end of the season, the gap between the Yellows and the European spots seemed far too big. Only a perfect end to the league would allow Villarreal to return to Europe.

If their aim was already tough, the Yellows lost Matchday 30 3-0 to Getafe, and next up was FC Barcelona at El Madrigal. A tough test that Villarreal passed with flying colours, beating the Catalan side 2-0. It was a real morale boost that was noted in the following wins against Gimàstic de Tarragona (0-3), RC Celta (1-0), CA Osasuna (1-4) and Racing de Santander (2-1).

With only three games left of the season, Villarreal had cut the distance to just a point from sixth-placed Atlético Madrid. There were three tough games left: against Valencia CF at Mestalla, Athletic Club at El Madrigal and Sevilla FC at the Sánchez-Pizjuán.

The first of those games saw the Yellows beat Valencia CF with a Forlán brace and a Tomasson goal (2-3). Against Athletic, they scored three times once more (against Forlán got two goals), to win 3-1. Villarreal made the most of defeats by Real Zaragoza and Atlético Madrid to go ahead of the latter and draw level on points with the former.

On Matchday 38, the Submarine visited Sevilla, who were third in the table still with faint hopes of winning the title (they needed to win and see Real Madrid and Barcelona lose). In front of them were Pellegrini’s men, the most in-form team in the league after seven wins in a row.

With the table extremely tight, a defeat would see Villarreal fall out of the top six. Looking to get what seemed impossible two months before, Pellegrini lined up with the following line-up: Viera; Venta, Fuentes, Quique, Jose Enrique; Pirés, Josico, Senna, Cani; Tomasson, Guille Franco.

In a tight game, the Submarine managed to continue their great run, getting their eighth win in a row against Sevilla FC. The only goal of the game came from Fabricio Fuentes, scoring from a Cani corner in the 50th minute. The three points saw Villarreal finish fifth with 62 points, ahead of Real Zaragoza (sixth) and Atlético Madrid (seventh), who both had 60 points. The Yellows did it with eight unforgettable wins to get into Europe.


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