Villarreal draws with Bayer 04 Leverkusen and goes forward in the UEFA Europa League
Villarreal qualified for the Quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League tonight putting in a great performance against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the BayArena (0-0). The Submarine did their job in the first leg getting themselves a 2-0 advantage in El Madrigal and so, they keep dreaming in Europe.
The big news before the game was Sergio Asenjo’s return. The goalkeeper played his first game for 11 months, after being sidelined due to a serious knee injury sustained on 29th April 2015 against Atlético de Madrid in El Madrigal. Asenjo received the all clear in December 2015, but until today has patiently waited his turn to get back between the posts.
And it was Asenjo who was the star in the first dangerous play of the match. The Villarreal number 1 threw himself bravely at the feet of Çalhanoglu, who was put through on goal by a through ball from ‘Chicharito’ Hernández in the 18th minute.
The Submarine were pushed back into their area as the 2-0 lead gained in El Madrigal meant Bayer had to push forward from the off. Denis Suárez had a great chance as he was put through by a pass from Soldado, but the number 18’s shot was blocked by Papadopoulos.
At the start of the second half, it was Bayer 04 Leverkusen that came close with a Papadopoulos header kept out only by the woodwork. Villarreal answered shortly after in the 66th minute with a great play that saw Denis Suárez put in a driven cross that was cleared badly by Tah and Bakambu pulled his shot just wide. The Submarine started to push for goal to sentence the tie. Soldado almost scored but his header was kept out by an excellent save from Leno.
Marcelino’s team knew how to hold off their rivals until the final whistle blew from the Scottish referee, William Collum, and they even had the clearest chance to take the game 0-1 in injury time as Trigueros played a Hollywood ball to Alfonso Pedraza (the Reserve team player making his debut in the UEFA Europa League). Now, Villarreal are among the best eight teams in the competition. On to the next round!
The Quarter-final draw will take place this Friday in Nyon (Switzerland)
Villarreal goes forward and will be in the Quarter-final draw of the UEFA Europa League that will take place this Friday from 1pm CET in Nyon. The Submarine can be drawn against any of the teams that have qualified for this round so could even come up against a fellow Spanish team. The team chosen first will play the first leg at home. The first leg will be played on 7th April and the second leg will be played on 15th April. On behalf of Villarreal, Marcos Senna will attend the draw, a member of the club’s Institutional Relations Department.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Leno; Frey, Tah, Papadopoulos (Ramalho, m. 79), Wendell; Bellarabi, Kramer (Yurchenko, m. 67), Hakan Çalhanoglu, Brandt; Mehmedi (Kruse, m. 59) and ‘Chicharito’ Hernández.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Bailly, Víctor Ruiz, Rukavina; Denis Suárez (Alfonso Pedraza, m. 89), Pina, Bruno, Samu Castillejo (Trigueros, m. 60); Bakambu and Soldado (Adrián, m. 74).
Referee: William Collum (SCO). Cautioned: Mehmedi (m. 41), Papadopoulos (m. 72) and Bellarabi (m. 78) for the locals; and Rukavina (m. 59) and Bakambu (m. 80) for the visitors.