Villarreal took a slender advantage into the second leg of their Champions League quarter final against Bayern Munich, sealing a 1-0 win at Estadio de la Ceramica in the opening game between the two teams.
Unai Emery’s side got off to the perfect start as they took the lead with just seven minutes on the clock, to the delight of the home support.
Giovani Lo Celso’s cut-back into the box from the right found Dani Parejo, whose scuffed shot was turned into the net by Arnaut Danjuma ahead of him, as the Dutchman grabbed his sixth Champions League goal for the Yellow Submarines.
The home side then found the net again five minutes before half-time, as Francis Coquelin’s cross from the left somehow ended up in the far corner of the goal. However, VAR ruled the goal out for offside in the build-up.
The game became more open in the second half, with both sides creating big chances to score. Villarreal came closest, as Gerard Moreno’s strike from 25-yards out smacked the bottom of the post, to the relief of Manuel Neuer in the Bayern Munich goal.
The hosts held on despite pressure late on from Bayern to secure another famous European win on home soil.
TALKING POINT – IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE FOR VILLARREAL
This certainly is a famous European night in the history of Villarreal, as they maintain their unbeaten home record in Champions League knockout fixtures with a superb first-leg result at the Estadio de la Ceramica to keep their dreams of advancing to the semi-finals very much alive.
However, the feeling may be bitter-sweet for Unai Emery and his players, as the Yellow Submarines had plenty of clear-cut chances to score more goals, and in the grand scheme of things, that lack of cutting edge could come back to bite in the second leg against a Bayern side who have lost just twice at the Allianz Arena in all competitions this season.
Arnaut Danjuma had a fantastic chance to seal a two goal cushion for his side in the second half, but his scuffed effort was cleared by Dayot Upamecano in the nick of time. Other moments of note included Gerard Moreno’s swerving strike that hit the bottom of the post, and Alfonso Pedraza’s wild effort going wide near the end of the game, when it seemed easier to score.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ALPHONSO DAVIES
In what may be a surprise to many given the result, the Bayern Munich left-back produced an outstanding performance on his return to the side to claim the Man of the Match award after four months on the sidelines. The Canadian is a crucial outlet in this Bayern team, but tonight he also showed his defensive capabilities with some fantastic blocks in the six-yard box.
In total, the 21-year-old had three shots on goal, made seven successful dribbles, and won six of his seven attempted tackles. A superb showing on his long-awaited comeback.
Villarreal: Rulli 7, Foyth 7, Albiol 7, Torres 7, Estupinian 7, Lo Celso 7, Capoue 7, Parejo 8, Coquelin 6, Moreno 6, Danjuma 8. Subs: Aurier 6, Pedraza, Chukwueze 6.
Bayern Munich: Neuer 5, Davies 8, Hernandez 7, Upamecano 6, Pavard 6, Musiala 6, Kimmich 7, Gnabry 6, Muller 6, Coman 6, Lewandowski 6. Subs: Roca 6, Goretzka 6, Sule 6, Sane 6.
7’ – GOAL! (Arnaut Danjuma) – What a start for the yellow submarines! They lead Bayern Munich! They attack down the right, and Lo Celso does well to cut the ball back for Parejo. He goes for goal, but Danjuma gets the final touch and places it beyond Neuer from inside the box!
40’ – GOAL DISALLOWED! – Coquelin’s cross from the left sneaks into the far corner of the net and goes beyond Manuel Neuer! However, replays show that the Frenchman went a fraction early after being played in by Parejo, and Stuart Attwell advises Anthony Taylor to disallow the goal for offside, which he does.
62’ – ALMOST A CALAMITY FOR BAYERN! – Neuer comes miles out, and collects the ball, before trying to feed it forward, but it gets cut out by Moreno, and the forward tries a first-time effort from the halfway line into an empty net, but it curls agonisingly wide of the far post! What a goal that would’ve been!
86’ – WHAT A CHANCE! – Villarreal with a huge chance to double their advantage! A ball is played forward for Lo Celso, who is almost 1v1 with Neuer, but instead of opting to go for goal, he plays in an advancing Pedraza to his left, but he slashes at the ball first-time and it goes horribly wide! He simply had to score!