Thrilling opening win in the PLI Cup (3-2)
Thrilling opening win in the PLI Cup (3-2)


Villarreal U23 beat Benfica U23 in an exciting finish to the Yellows’ first group game

The Yellow Submarine U23 side started out on the right foot in their fourth consecutive season playing in the Premier League International Cup. The Yellows beat Benfica U23 on Matchday 1 of the Group stage of the prestigious competition thanks to goals by Simón Moreno, Genís and Darío Poveda (3-2).

What started off as a very even match finished in an exciting, end to end encounter. Javi Calleja’s side dominated the first half and took the lead through a great finish by Simón Moreno. Then Heriberto pulled one back for Benfica at the start of the second half, which was wide open with both teams creating chances. The three other goals were all scored in the final minutes of the match. Genís made it 2-1 in the 85th minute, then just two minutes later the Portuguese side equalized again.

Villarreal had the last say though, Darío Poveda scoring the winner for the Yellows in injury time. The next match for Villarreal U23 in the Premier League International Cup is Wednesday 4th October against West Ham United U23 (8pm CEST).


Villarreal U23: Josele; Migue (Genís, m. 46), Ramón Bueno, Juan ‘Ibiza’, Quintillà; Cedrés (Franco Acosta, m. 60), Lozano, Morlanes, Pedrito (Raba, m. 57); Simón and Darío.

Benfica U23: F. Duarte, Mateus, Lystcov, Ferro, S. Cuevas, Florentino, Keaton (Joao Félix, m. 75), N. Santos, Jota, Zé Gomes (Daniel dos Anjos, m. 70) and Heriberto (Diogo Mendes, m. 56).

Goals: 1-0. Min. 37: Simón Moreno. 1-1. Min. 49: Heriberto. 2-1. Min. 85: Genís. 2-2. Min. 87: Joao Félix. 3-2. Min. 90: Darío.

Referee: Richard Hulme.

Location: American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

The groups for the 2017/18 competition are:

  • Group A: Sparta Praha, Liverpool, Newcastle United and PSV Eindhoven.
  • Group B: Hertha BSC, Legia Warsaw, Leicester City and Sunderland.
  • Group C: Derby County, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Everton and VfL Wolfsburg.
  • Group D: Athletic Club Bilbao, Celtic FC, Manchester United and Swansea City.
  • Group E: Arsenal, FC Bayern Munich, FC Porto and Reading.
  • Group F: Villarreal CF, SL Benfica, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

The Yellows fixtures in Group F are as follows (time in Spain):

  • Wednesday 20th September: Villarreal U23SL Benfica U23 (8pm CEST, American Express Elite Football Performance Centre).
  • Wednesday 4th October: West Ham United U23-Villarreal U23 (8pm CEST, Dagenham & Redbridge).
  • Tuesday 14th November: Tottenham Hotspur U23-Villarreal U23 (8pm CEST, Stevenage FC).