Villarreal limp out of CL playoffs

Villarreal have crashed out of the Champions League after limping to a 1-0 defeat to Monaco in Tuesday’s playoff second leg and 3-1 on aggregate.

Villarreal made three changes to the side that drew with Granada at the weekend as they hoped to overturn a 2-1 deficit away from home in order to reach the group stage for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Monaco, on the other hand, named one player shy of the same XI that emerged victorious in the first leg, the suspended Benjamin Mendy replaced by Djibril Sidibe at left-back.

The Yellow Submarine needed two goals to have any chance of progression, but the first half went as realists would have predicted, the Spaniards seeing plenty of the ball yet creating very little, while the Principality outfit looked dangerous on the counterattack.

Indeed, the best chance in the opening 40 minutes fell to Monaco as Thomas Lemar hit a pullback in the box first time that squeezed between Sergio Asenjo’s legs, although the goalkeeper just about scrambled to stop the ball from rolling over the line.

However, Villarreal should have been ahead just before half-time through Borre, who was released through on goal by Bruno Soriano’s drilled through ball, yet the Atletico Madrid loanee could only shoot straight at Danijel Subasic and saw his rebound kept out by a last-ditch Jemerson tackle.

Borre instantly looked to make amends for his miss as he began the second half with two snapshots, yet he could only fire the ball wide from the edge of box when teed up by an otherwise-ineffective Alexandre Pato and then drag an effort wide, central to Subasic’s goal.

That was as it good as it got for the Yellow Submarine, whose new boss Fran Escriba further piled the pressure on himself with at least two bizarre substitutions that saw Jaume Costa make his long-awaited comeback in a like-for-like swap with Jose Angel at left-back and defender-midfielder Alfred N'Diaye replace the arguably more-attacking Roberto Soriano.

Their chronic lack of ambition was duly punished heading into stoppage time as Mateo Musacchio blocked a Fabinho cross with his arm, allowing the former Real Madrid full-back to smash the resulting penalty into the roof of Asenjo’s net and leave Spain with one less representative in the group stage.

Monaco 1-0 Villarreal (3-1 agg.)

Fabinho pen 90

Monaco: Subasic; Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, Sidibe; Fabinho, Bakayoko; Dirar, Silva, Lemar (Moutinho 68); Germain (Carrillo 81)

Villarreal: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Ruiz, Jose Angel (Costa 67); Castillejo, Bruno, Trigueros, Soriano (N’Diaye 80); Santos Borre (Suarez 75), Pato

Referee: Eriksson [SWE]

Tags Monaco