Villarreal show European steel to bypass Juventus

Unai Emery navigated a perfect night for Villarreal as they depart Turin with a massive scalp and memories of a historic night. Juventus were left reeling as three Villarreal goals in the final quarter of an hour knocked the air out of them – and them out of the Champions League.

The first half, which seems small in the distance, was probably closer to giving the Italians the advantage. Villarreal arrived with confidence, keeping the ball well and moving through passing patterns well. Yet only Giovani Lo Celso’s effort came close to changing the outlook of the tie.

Dusan Vlahovic looked a constant menace on the other side, linking play well and troubling the crossbar from a tight angle. His strike partner Alvaro Morata also drew an excellent stop from Geronimo Rulli.

Predictably, both Massimiliano Allegri and Unai Emery made their tweaks for a more controlled second half. Juventus gained more of the ball but with Villarreal content to defend in tight formation, it lessened the Italian threat. As happened to their opponents in the first half, the Old Lady found they were at their weakest defending space.

This manifested itself most clearly in the closing stages. Francis Coquelin was brought down by Daniele Rugani and despite Wojciech Szczęsny getting a good contact on the ball, Gerard Moreno scored. A corner won on the break was then cushioned into the net by an onrushing Pau Torres after a near post flick, before a second penalty was awarded by virtue of Mathias de Ligt’s arm. Arnaut Danjuma’s shot had been blocked by de Ligt, but there were no obstacles as he slotted home the third.

Villarreal have a habit of leaving their European opponents with the distinct sensation that they didn’t do a great deal wrong, as they contemplate their elimination. The Yellow Submarine are efficient and savvy beyond their years, knowing when and where to be at all times. Emery’s frantic handwriting was scribbled all over another historic victory, which will live long in the minds of the Groguets.

Tags Champions League Juventus Villarreal
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