Villarreal travelled to Croatia this evening to lock horns with Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final. Pau Torres, the Yellow Submarine’s promising young centre-back, started after a period struggling with injury, while the red-hot and in-form Gerard Moreno led the line.
Villarreal are hungry for trophies, and had been tipped by many at the beginning of the season to prioritise the Europa League over La Liga. Now they’re in the business end of the season and in the moments that matter, something Unai Emery, a specialist in this competition having won it three times, knows all about.
Villarreal overcame Sivasspor, Qarabag FK, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, RB Salzburg and Dynamo Kyiv to get this far, and got off to a good start in the Croatian night. Moreno converted a penalty shortly before half-time, his fifth goal in the knockout stages of the Europa League this season, a tally nobody else has matches. Moreno is undoubtedly this Villarreal team’s differential player.