Fran Escribá’s side fall to Monaco in the Champions League play-off first leg (1-2)
Villarreal could not start with the right foot forward in their UEFA Champions League play-off tie after falling 1-2 to Monaco, in a game in which the Yellows were rowing upstream from the start. The Subamrine was weighed down with numerous injuries, eight players ruled out in total. Cheryshev, Jaume Costa, Jonathan dos Santos, Bakambu, Soldado and Bonera were all injured for the tie, while Víctor Ruiz was banned. In addition, Sansone could not help his teammates as he had already played the UEFA Europa League play-off with his previous team, US Sassuolo.
The match started with a scare for the Yellows. N’Diaye’s tackle on Lemar led to a penalty call, which was fired home by Fabinho (0-1). Then the Yellows had to row harder. The knockout tie became an uphill struggle, but the Yellows did not despair. With Bruno and Trigueros carrying the team in the midfield, the Submarine got closer and closer to scoring.
As the minutes passed Villarreal had their chances and they all fell to the same guy: Alexandre Pato. The Brazilian striker was hungry for goal, coming close in the 11th minute from a Castillejo cross, a header over the bar in the 25th minute and a shot that brushed the post in the 33rd minute.
The Submarine’s number 10 finally got his reward ten minutes before the break. The equalizer came after Soriano headed on Trigueros’ cross, in turn Santos Borré headed the ball on again to Pato, who headed home from inside the box. One play with three precise headers found the back of the net. El Madrigal stadium went crazy. It was Pato’s first goal for the Yellows.
Villarreal doimnated possession at the start of the second half, but they struggled to create any clear chances. It was Pato again, whose left footed strike sailed just over the bar in the 60th minute. Shortly after, Mario’s shot seemed to deflect off Bakayoko’s hand in the penalti área, but the referee made the controversial decision not to call a penalty.
Monaco went ahead again in the 71st minute. Bernardo Silva dribbled across the top of the Yellows box and got his left footed shot away that stumped Asenjo (1-2).
Villarreal gave their all until the end. Even more so when Monaco went a player down as Mendy was sent off in the 86th minute.
Fran Escribá’s side must make a comeback next Tuesday 23rd August at Monaco’s Louis II stadium (8:45pm CET) to get through to the Group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Yes we can!
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, N’Diaye, José Ángel; Castillejo, Trigueros, Bruno, Soriano; Pato and Santos Borré (Mario González, m. 75).
AS Monaco FC: Subasic; Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, B. Mendy; Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar; Bernardo Silva (Joao Moutinho, m. 80), Dirar; Germain (Carrillo, m. 69).
Goals: 0-1. Min. 3: Fabinho, de penalti. 1-1. Min. 35: Pato. 1-2. Min. 71: Bernardo Silva.
Referee: Felix Brich (GER). Cautioned: N’Diaye for the locals; as well as Lemar, Fabinho, Bakayoko and Joao Moutinho for the visitors. Sent off: Mendy (m. 86) forl Monaco.
Stadium: El Madrigal.