The Submarine do what they needed to in Croatia to book their place in the UEFA Conference League group stage
¡Jugaremos la UEFA Conference League! El Submarino no especuló en su visita al Estadio Poljud de Croacia y superó al Hajduk Split en el encuentro de vuelta de la fase previa de la UEFA Conference League (0-2). Los goles de Pedraza y Chukwueze otorgaron el triunfo al cuadro de Unai Emery y, por ende, su participación en una nueva competición europea, que será la 18ª en toda su historia.
We will play in the UEFA Conference League! The Submarine put in a serious performance in their visit to Croatia’s Stadion Poljud and overcame Hajduk Split in the second leg of their UEFA Conference League qualifier (0-2). Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Samu Chukwueze secured the win for Unai Emery’s side, which confirms their 18th participation in European competition in their history.
It was not to be an easy night for the Submarine at the imposing Stadion Poljud in Split, where thousands of Croatian fans cheered their team on even before the opening whistle and dreamed of a comeback. Hopes that, thanks to the good work of the Yellows, were quickly dashed.
Barely five minutes had been played when Álex Baena had the first great chance of the match. The midfielder received a ball inside the area from Nico Jackson and tried to place it just inside Kalinic’s far post. The shot, however, was blocked by the keeper.
The Croatian team woke up after Villarreal’s initial warning and they had a good chance when Livaja controlled a long ball inside the box his shot was repelled by an attentive Jorge Cuenca.
Hajduk Split pressed hard in the early stages of the game, pushed on by the intensity of the Croatian side’s tireless fans. However, the Villarreal players did not look nervous and took control of possession and, through their good work with the ball, scored the first goal of the night.
After a long period of possession, the ball found its way to Pedraza who, after getting into the box, cut back past his marker and hit a right-footed shot into the back of the Croatian net.
With a focused and effective Villarreal on the pitch of the Stadion Poljud, but with the tie still open, the Submarine went into the break ahead thanks to a goal from the left-back.
The second half couldn’t have got off to a better start! Not even 15 minutes had gone when Chukwueze made the lead on the scoreboard even bigger. It was the 57th minute when the Nigerian, with a trademark cut inside from out wide, struck a ball from the edge of the area that ended up in the back of the net after a mistake by the opposition goalkeeper.
The Croatian team’s persistence and perseverance during the remaining 30 minutes did not stop the Yellows who, thanks a great performance by the entire defence, kept a clean sheet, keeping the result at 0-2.
With the win tonight, and a 6-2 aggregate result, Villarreal CF have reached the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage, and will be part of the draw, which will take place tomorrow at 2:30pm CEST.
Villarreal CF: Reina; Kiko F. (min. 80, Foyth), Mandi, J. Cuenca, A. Pedraza (min. 80, Pau); Álex B., Parejo, Coquelin (m. 46, Capoue), Chukwueze; Lo Celso (m. 58, Gerard), N. Jackson (m. 58, A. J. Morales).
Hajduk Split: Kalinic; Melnjak (min. 80, Colina), Elez (min. 80, Simic), Awaziem, Mikanovic (min. 60, Lovrencsics); Fossati (min. 66, Vukovic), Grgic, Biuk, Krovinovic, Sahiti (min. 60, Mlakar); Livaja.
Goals: 0-1. Min. 37: A. Pedraza. 0-2. Min 57: Chukwueze.
Referee: Andris Treimanis (Latvia). Booked: Mikanovic (Hajduk Split); Coquelin & Gerard (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Match between Hajduk Split and Villarreal CF, corresponding to the second leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League Play-Off Round at the Stadion Poljud in Croatia.