Sorloth and Reina shine to kickstart the Yellows’ European campaign (1-0)!
Sorloth and Reina shine to kickstart the Yellows’ European campaign (1-0)!

Villarreal beat Stade Rennais, boosted by the monumental Norwegian striker and the outstanding Spanish goalkeeper

Villarreal win again in Europe (1-0). The Yellows beat Stade Rennais in a tough match at La Cerámica. Pacheta’s men played a serious game with a lot of skill against a tough opponent with a lot of danger. Up front, Sørloth and at the back, Reina were key to the Yellows’ first three points in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.

The UEFA Europa League returned to Vila-real 889 days after the Villarreal vs Arsenal semi-final. Exactly 862 nights after the best night of our lives, the one that made us champions of the tournament in Gdansk. The night was full of excitement for the fans, who didn’t miss the first of many continental events that we will experience this year on Thursdays at La Cerámica.

Villarreal started the game well. They had the ball and they were in possession of it. Pacheta’s plan seemed to work against Stade Rennais, a tough physical team and vertical in quick transitions.

Villarreal’s first chance fell to Alexander Sorloth (min. 18). The Norwegian giant headed a ball into space and, with his great stride, he planted himself in the opposition penalty area. He was pinned down by a defender, but his shot was blocked by Mandanda at the near post.

Pacheta’s team played with precision in the opposition half. They were pinning their opponents back, although it seemed that the French were happy with this game plan, which allowed them to steal with metres in front of them to show off their great pace.

Something the Submarine were not going to allow, and they broke the deadlock with direct play. Something Alexander Sorloth gave Pacheta’s side. A long ball in search of the Yellows’ strikers was picked out by the Nordic giant on the edge of the area and, without any hesitation, he flicked it to his left foot just before unleashing a powerful shot to make it 1-0. An unstoppable, masterful strike.

With a narrow – and deserved – lead for the home side, the game went into the interval. The Submarine did not start the second half with as much bite. Stade Rennais, as a result of necessity and the result, gained metres and presence in the Yellows’ half.

In order not to lose consistency, Pacheta moved the bench and brought on some fresh players. First Morales and Pedraza, and then Comesaña, provided the Submarine with muscle to face the decisive stretch.

In the 78th minute, the referee made a serious error in signalling a penalty for a Kalimuendo shot that went into the clouds. The VAR had to intervene to dispense justice, encourage him to review and correct his decision.

The Submarine held their lead with skill against an opponent who were pushing forward and not giving up their search for an equaliser. With time running out, and after almost five minutes of stoppage time for the VAR review, the referee pointed to a penalty against Villarreal. A tremendous blow. When things looked at their worst, Pepe Reina stood tall and shone brightly. With a monumental save, he put an end to French hopes and woke up the crowd, who enjoyed their team in a competition that excites everyone.


Villarreal CF: Reina; Kiko F., Mandi, Gabbia, Alberto M. (R. Albiol, m. 85); Álex B. (A. Pedraza, m. 57), Parejo, Capoue, M. Trigueros (Santi C. V., m. 74), Álex B., Sorloth (R. Terrats, m. 85), Yeremy (A. J. Morales, m. 57).

Stade Rennais: Mandanda; Doué, Omari, Theate, Truffert; Bourigeaud (Le Fée, m. 73), Santamaría (Matic, m. 73), Doué (Terrier, m. 81), Blas, Yildirim (Kalimuendo, m. 64), Salah (Gouri, m. 64).

Goals: 1-0. Min. 36: Sorloth.

Referee: Harald Lechner. Booked: Alberto M., Álex B. A. Pedraza (Villarreal); Doué, Truffert (Stade Rennais).

Matchday information: Match between Villarreal CF and Stade Rennais, in the UEFA Europa League group stage, at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Attendance: 17,458.