The Submarine claim their first Conference League win in a crazy encounter
Villarreal CF picked up their first win in the UEFA Europa Conference League after beating Lech Poznan (4-3) in the game corresponding to Matchday 1 of the group stage played at the Ciutat de València. The Submarine, who were making their debut in the competition as the first Spanish team to take part in the tournament, picked up their first three points in a crazy game thanks to goals from Samu Chukwueze, Álex Baena (2) and Francis Coquelin.
It was not going to be an easy game for Villarreal – who took to the field with a completely different starting lineup to the one seen last Sunday against Elche CF – and this was reflected on the pitch in the opening minutes.
In practically the first action of the game, Adrián de la Fuente, who was making another start for the first team, did not combine well with Filip Jorgensen in the box and lost the ball when he tried to give it to the Swede. Unfortunately for the Yellows, it fell to Lech Poznan and Skoras, at his pleasure, put the Polish side ahead in the second minute.
Lech Poznan, solid in defence, thwarted the Submarine’s attacking attempts. However, in the 32nd minute, Manu Trigueros – who after this match has now played his 426th game for the Yellows, a record – played a great ball to the left flank where Johan Mojica, with a good cross to the far post, found Chukwueze who scored one of the goals of the day with a formidable volley with his left foot.
The Submarine wanted more after equalising and soon scored a second goal. In the 36th minute the second Villarreal gaol came after a Baena shot from outside the box which hit a defender before flying in.
The Yellows increased their lead before the break after a great individual move down the right flank, Chukwueze filtered a good ball through to Baena who, with an angled control, crossed the ball in front of the keeper to score Villarreal’s third and his second of the day.
Despite the initial goal by the away side, Villareral went into the break with a 3-1 lead.
Lech Poznan pulled one back in the first minute of the second half after referee Ali Palabiyik pointed to the penalty spot after Aissa Mandi was adjudged to have handled the ball. Ishak, from the penalty spot, made no mistake.
Villarreal, not focused at the start of the second half, were to see the Polish side equalise. It was the 61st minute when a Polish attacker filtered a pass that Mandi couldn’t reach, but Ishak did, and he scored to perfection, slipping the ball under Jorgensen’s legs.
The Ciutat de València went wild in the 89th minute when Francis Coquelin took advantage of a loose ball at the edge of the area to volley the ball into the back of the net, making the Polish goalkeeper’s save useless.
After taking their first three points in the group stage and the draw between Austria Wien and Hapoel Beer Sheva, Villarreal CF are now top of Group C and will return to action next Sunday, at 9pm CEST, to face Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín in the match corresponding to Matchday 7 of LaLiga Santander. In the UEFA Europa Conference League, the Submarine will travel to Israel next Thursday to face Hapoel Beer Sheva at 9pm CEST.
Villarreal CF: Jorgensen; Dela (Kiko F., m. 63), Mandi, J. Cuenca, J. Mojica; Morlanes (Parejo, m. 63), Coquelin, M. Trigueros (N. Jackson, m. 46), Chukwueze (Yeremy, m. 80); Álex B., A.J. Morales (Gerard, m. 63).
Lech Poznan: Bednarek; Pereira, Dagerstål, Milić, Rebocho; Murawski, Karlström, Kvekveskiri (Sousa, m. 90); Amaral (Szymczak, m. 70), Ishak (Velde, m. 78), Skóraś (Tsitaishvili, m. 78).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 1: Skóraś. 1-1. Min. 32: Chukwueze. 2-1. Min. 36: Álex B. 3-1. Min. 40: Álex B. 3-2. Min. 46: Ishak. 3-3. Min. 62: Ishak. 4-3. Min. 89: Coquelin.
Referee: Ali Palabiyik. Booked: Mandi, J. Cuenca Chukwueze, Álex B. (Villarreal); Murawski (Lech Poznan).
Matchday information: Match between Villarreal CF and Lech Poznan, corresponding to Matchday 1 of the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage, at the CIutat de València. Attendance: 10,385.