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Knockout stages fixtures
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2 - 1
N. Sansone (15)
Manu Trigueros (88)
V. Achim (55)
Estadio de la Cerámica
Villarreal v FCSB Live Commentary,
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2 - 1
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Shots Off Target
Shots On Target
FULL-TIME! Villarreal qualify for the knock-out stages by the skin of their teeth, with a wonderful chip from Trigueros enough to send the Yellow Submarine through with a 2-1 scoreline over Steaua. It was close, however, as Asenjo is forced into a last-ditch one-on-one stop! Sansone opened the scoring, before Achim levelled it up, with a bit of magic required to force the issue. That's all that we have time for, but what a game that was! We hope to see you again next time.
Dos Santos gives the ball away in a vital area! The loose ball is found by William in the penalty area, and he goes down, but the Brazilian isn't clipped by anyone. Villarreal don't even look at the referee and continue, with their counter ending with Borre firing wide.
Trigueros bends in a free-kick delivery from the right-hand side, but Nita makes a simple catch. Steaua try to counter, but Asenjo comes off his line to blast clear. Villarreal head up the other end, but a bright counter ends with Borre shooting into the figure of Tosca.
Achim gets a late booking for a mistimed tackle on Trigueros.
There are five minutes of stoppage time at El Madrigal.
The home side threaten down the left-hand side, but a cross from the byline is caught well by Nita, before Bruno is found at the back post moments later. The captain is picked out by his central midfield partner, but is denied by a smart close-range stop from the goalkeeper.
Soriano slots a pass into a good area, but Trigueros does the rest.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! WHAT A GOAL FROM TRIGUEROS! He is found on the right-hand side, before clipping a beautiful chip over the goalkeeper. It is measured to perfection, and catches the underside of the bar on its way into the back of the net. What a sublime finish.
Bakambu is replaced for the last five minutes or so, with Rodri Hernandez inserted into the fray to try and make possession count.
William is released down the left-hand side by a quick free-kick, but Villarreal defend well. The home fans are calling for their team to go on the offensive, as only six minutes stand between Escriba's men and elimination. Something has to give.
Steaua have to see out the remaining 10 minutes with just 10 men, with Villarreal immediately trying to go on the offensive and make their numerical advantage count. This is set to be a very nervy climax. Asenjo makes a simple save at his near post, after a Momcilovic strike was deflected goalwards.
Sansone takes his leave after running himself into the ground, with Santos Borre given the chance to find the all-important winner for Villarreal.
RED CARD! Tamas takes a loose touch and then tugs back Soriano in an attempt to get goalside of his man. The referee sees that as cynical and gives the Romanian right-back his second yellow of the night.
Great cross from Tamas! The right-back overlaps well again and bends in a tempting delivery, which flashes beyond William and shy of the danger area. The Brazilian goes down in a heap, claiming a foul from Mario, but the referee isn't interested. Moments later, Tosca goes down after being accidentally clipped by Bakambu.
Boldrin is replaced for the final stages for Steaua, with Popescu given the chance to make himself a hero.
Popa tries to get to the right byline, and manages to cut back a cross from the flank, but Villarreal clear. The hosts break at real pace, but Moke Abro has the pace to keep stride with Bakambu. The DR Congo international fires a cross into Sansone, whose cute back-heel flick flashes wide of the near post and into the advertising boards.
Bourceanu fizzes a low pass into Popa's feet, but the Romanian striker can only take a poor touch initially. He spins in behind, and that earns the away side a corner - which comes to nothing. Sansone tries to race away on the break, but is held up by a bad tackle. The referee waves play on, as Trigueros clips a pass out to Jaume Costa on the overlap, but a cross from the left-back is gathered by the opposition goalkeeper.
The away side are commiting lot of bodies forward, despite the current result being much more in their favour than Villarreal's. The hosts enjoy a spell of possession, which sees a cross worked in from the left-hand side, but the delivery sails straight over the back post and out for a goal-kick. Wasteful.
Soriano and Bakambu manage to combine on the attack, but a shot from the latter is fired straight at Nita, with Villarreal continuing to waste good openings. The Congolose striker is found in behind Steaua's lines moments later, but can't take a good first touch. Nita gobbles up the scraps.
Great save from Asenjo! The Spaniard gets down neatly to his left-hand side to palm a low drive from William around the post, after the Brazilian chopped onto his right foot with ease. That could be a vital stop, the Steaua man has his head in his hands!
J. dos Santos
Dos Santos picks up a booking for the home side, and the referee is being kept very busy lately.
Golubovic is penalised for catching Alvaro with a flying elbow, and the Villarreal centre-back eventually allows the Steaua substitute to apologise. That is enough for a booking.
Sansone tries to flick a wonderful throughball over the top for Bakambu to challenge for, but Moke Abro once again stands firm. The Villarreal front two have combined brilliantly tonight, but they can't quite seem to find the perfect link-up play required to unlock this away defence. Moments later, there is a brief in play, as Alvaro goes down holding his face.
Wide from Bakambu! The Congo international is picked out by a brilliant cross from the right-hand side by Dos Santos, and can only guide a deflected header beyond the near post due to some good defending from Moke Abro. The corner is swung in by Trigueros, but Victor Ruiz heads wide of the target.
Bakambu is almost picked out making a dart into the penalty area by a Dos Santos throughball, but the Mexican wide man gets his angles just wrong. Steaua respond with an immediate break, which sees a cross swung into the box from the left, but Alvaro rises well to beat Boldrin to the header - earning his side a free-kick in the process.
Villarreal manage to earn themselves a free-kick on the right flank, after an untidy tackle from Tosca. This game is just constant entertainment at the moment, it's hard to keep up! Trigueros bend in the set-piece, but a flicked header from Mario Gaspar is gathered up with ease by Nita.
Villarreal build pressure slowly, with Bruno releasing Dos Santos down the right-hand side. The Mexico international cuts back a great ball from the byline, which is cleared eventually. Moments later, Bakambu gets in behind and on the end of a terrible backpass, but the Congolese striker shoots from too tight of an angle. He can only hit the side netting!
Boldrin takes aim from the previously mentioned free-kick, but the Brazilian bends an awful attempt well over the crossbar. That is a waste. Villarreal respond with a break, that sees Bakambu dispossessed brilliantly on the end of the box. Suddenly, this is end-to-end stuff!
The away side suddenly have their tails up, as the winner in this match guarantees their passage into the next round - although a draw is still probably going to be good enough for Steaua tonight. They win a free-kick in a dangerous area, which enables them to load the penalt box with bodies.
Tamas manages to wriggle away from Jaume Costa, before bending in a brilliant cross from out wide.
GOOOOOOOOAL! ACHIM MAKES IT 1-1! That could be his first touch! The midfielder manages to guide home a great header from close-range, after neat work down the right-hand side by Tamas. The right-back whips in a great delivery and the substitute applies the important finish.
Steaua make a second change, with the disappointing Pintilii being replaced by Achim in the middle of the park.
Steaua are showing absolutely no quality of any description, as Asenjo continues to have a very simple evening in the hosts' net. The away side work possession out to the right-hand side, but an attempted through ball from Pintilii is terrible. The defensive midfielder bends the pass beyond any teammates and it rolls behind for a goal-kick.
Bakambu is penalised for shoving Moke Abro to the floor, and the Congolese striker will need to be careful after picking up a first-half booking. Steaua try to threaten down the left-hand side, but a curling cross from William sails harmlessly out of play for a goal-kick.
Niggling fouls continue to break up the flow of this game, but the referee has broadly made some great decisions so far tonight. Villarreal earn themselves a corner from Tosca out at the right byline, but the set-piece delivery is headed away with ease by the visitors. The Yellow Submarine pick up the rebound, but Mario thumps a cross-cum-shot into the side netting.
Villarreal threaten down the left, as Soriano cuts inside, but Steaua are keepings things very compact indeed in defence. Escriba's men need a touch of the ball to settle themselves down, as they can't afford to let the away side have a bright start to the second half.
The booked Enache takes his leave at the break, with Golubovic coming into the fray.
We are back underway in the second half at El Madrigal! Another goal would be vital for the hosts, with Steaua still in with a chance of clawing back a draw in order to try and progress tonight.
HALF-TIME! Villarreal head into the interval with a 1-0 advantage, but is could have been two just before the whistle blew. Bakambu was stabbed in behind and rounded Nita, with Tamas required to make a brilliant last-ditch challenge. Steaua survive by the skin of their teeth, they need at least one goal to progress tonight.
There is one minute of stoppage time in this first half.
Villarreal will be happy to see this 1-0 lead into the break, as Musacchio's injury has come at a rather inopportune moment of the game. Steaua enjoy some extended possession, with Sansone and Bakambu happy to chase direct passes. Jaume Costa thinks he has escaped down the left, moments later, but play is pulled back as Bakambu is penalised for a foul on Tamas.
Popa is released in behind and gets to the left byline, before cutting back on himself. He finds Boldrin on the overlap, but a poor shot is put behind for a goal-kick. That appeared to take a deflection and should have been awarded as a corner, but the referee points for a goal-kick.
Musacchio leaves the field of play with his injury problem, with Alvaro coming into the heart of the defence. Villarreal go straight on the attack, with Sansone finding Mario on the right, but a low drive from the right-back zips beyond the far post.
Musacchio goes down with an injury concern, which looks to have hurt the Argentine defender's right hamstring. He isn't moving brilliantly, and he will be replaced immediately. Not ideal for Escriba's men.
Sansone is constantly looking to be released in behind Steaua's back four, and the Romanian outfit continue to play with a very high line indeed. One good, well-weighted pass from midfield and the Italy international could be in on goal with a great opportunity.
Bruno finds Dos Santos in between the lines, but the Mexican midfielder is left in a heap by a poor tackle from Bourceanu. It earns Villarreal a free-kick in a good area, but it is taken quickly and given away.
Narrowly over 10 minutes remain until the break, with Villarreal desperately hunting for the goal that would make them so much more comfortable. Jaume Costa makes a good clearance for the hosts, after a neat pass found Enache in between the lines, but Steaua keep their pressure on. Tamas is found overlapping, but the ex-West Brom defender's cross is absolutely woeful.
Tamas sees the third booking of the game, this time for a cynical trip. The resulting free-kick is nodded to safety with ease.
Jaume Costa works the ball infield, with Villarreal happy to probe from left to right, searching for a gap. The left-back is tripped by Tamas, as he tries to overlap down the same flank to get a return ball from Trigueros, which earns the Yellow Submarine a free-kick in a good area.
William is the target of a back-post cross, but the delivery flashes over his head and is picked up on the far side. A second ball into the box is headed away by Victor Ruiz, and Villarreal then break. Sansone streaks into the opposition half and takes the ball around a defender and onto his stronger right foot, but a powerful 20-yard strike from the Italian goes straight down Nita's throat.
Steaua manage to keep hold of possession for an extended period of time, but their move down the left-hand side is eventually dealt with by Musacchio. The away side keep their pressure on, but good pressing from the hosts sees their opposition work all their way back to Nita. No penetration from the Romanian outfit quite yet.
Bakambu is the second man to go in the book this evening, as the Villarreal striker goes to ground far too easily. He dives over looking for a free-kick, but is met with a card for simulation instead.
The hosts are seeing much more of the ball and are playing some neat stuff in between themselves, but the nerves could get the better of them if they can't extend their narrow lead. Enache goes in the book for a second late tackle on Jaume Costa, as he shows his frustration once again.
Villarreal have held their line well, with Steaua being caught offside on a few occasions already tonight. Bakambu opens play out to the left, with Soriano then drifting infield and playing a one-two with Sansone. The Italy international slides a pass that looks for Dos Santos to get to the right byline, but the two aren't quite on the same wavelength and the move comes to nothing.
As it stands, Escriba's men are through, with Steaua currently needing favours from elsewhere to progress from Group L. Sansone and Bakambu continue to look dangerous, with Asenjo still just a spectator in the Villarreal net. Enache and Tamas combine down the right, but Jaume Costa slides in to make an uncompromising tackle.
A couple of corner deliveries are dealt with eventually by Villarreal, with the offside flag eventually raised as Boldrin got in the way of his own teammate's long-range strike. The hosts have their tails up, but a one-two between Bakambu and Sansone is denied by a brilliant sliding challenge from Tosca.
Popa is afforded the chance to threaten inside the opposition penalty area, after a terrible mistake in midfield from Trigueros. The Romanian forward twists and turns, but sees a shot deflected behind for a corner, with Enache unable to do anything with the rebound.
GOOOOOOOOAL! SANSONE MAKES IT 1-0! Villarreal break down the right brilliantly, with Mario finding plenty of space in behind Momcilovic. A cross from out wide is swept into the box by the right-back, who picks out the Italian at the back post. His first shot is saved by Nita, but he follows up to drill a powerful effort home on the rebound!
Villarreal win a corner on the left-hand side, but Muscacchio is easily beaten in the air by Moke Abro. The hosts are carving out some opportunities for themselves, but Nita has still only had to make routine saves. Asenjo, meanwhile, could probably read a newspaper down the other end, he's only had to use his feet so far.
Sansone goes on a darting run down the right channel, but Momcilovic barges into the Italy international to defuse the situation. The referee is letting some very physical play slide at the moment. Steaua are truly on the back foot, but their back four is standing up to scrunity in these early minutes.
The home side string together a lovely passage of play but the final ball, which looks to pick Sansone out making a run in behind, is intercepted. The last bit of quality hasn't quite been there for Escriba's men so far, which could be the difference between qualification and elimination.
Villarreal earn themselves a free-kick on the left-hand side, but Nita is able to make a simple catch under his own crossbar. Bakambu tries to pressure the Romanian goalkeeper, who simply shoves the Congolese striker to the floor, but the referee has a word with the hosts' forward to stop pressuring Nita illegally.
William knocks a header on to the overlapping Momcilovic down the left-hand side, but the Serbian wing-back can only manage to knock his first touch of play, much to the amusement of the home fans. Villarreal respond with a long ball over the top, but Tosca keeps his cool to direct a header away from Bakambu.
Steaua have already shown that they are prepared to get forward on the counter and commit some players forward, but Villarreal are trying to impose control on the contest. Jaume Costa tries to flick a cross into the box from the left-hand side, but Moke Abro makes a good near-post clearance.
Almost the first goal of the afternoon for Villarreal! A long ball forward finds its way to Bakambu, who flicks a first-time pass in behind for Sansone to chase. The ex-Sassuolo man streaks towards the box, but Nita is off his line in a flash to collect right on the edge of his area.
We are underway in the first half at El Madrigal! Villarreal need a win to guarantee their qualification tonight, while a point could be enough to see Steaua sneak into the next round, so this is set to be a real thriller.
Steaua substitutes: Tudorie, Golubovic, Jakolis, Aganovic, Achim, Popescu, Stancioiu.
Steaua starting line-up (4-4-2): Nita; Tamas, Tosca, Moke, Momcilovic; Enache, Pintilii, Bourceanu, William; Adrian Popa, Boldrin.
Villarreal substitutes: Pato, Alvaro, Andres, Rodri, Rukavina, Borre, Suarez.
Villarreal starting line-up (4-4-2): Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Victor Ruiz, Jaume Costa; Dos Santos, Trigueros, Bruno, Soriano; Sansone, Bakambu.
TEAM NEWS: Gabriel Tamas' experience will key in defence. Adrian Popa leads the line, with William Amorim and Gabriel Enache deployed out wide. Mihai Pintilii will anchor the midfield, with Alin Tosca and Wilfried Moke providing stability of the heart of the back four. Steaua's top goalscorer for the season Florin Tanase isn't involved, with the visitors looking a little bit short on goals.
TEAM NEWS: Escriba can't afford to rotate too heavily tonight, given what is at stake. Nicola Sansone and Cedric Bakambu make up the strike partnership, with Jonathan Dos Santos getting a chance out wide due to Samu Castillejo's injury at the weekend. Manu Triguerous partners Bruno in the middle of the park, as the hosts go with their full-strength selection.
In the reverse fixture, Villarreal managed to scrape a 1-1 draw away in Romania, with Rafael Santos Borre bagging an early goal. Should the hosts manage to get ahead in similar fashion tonight, they could well be home and dry, as Steaua have only managed to score four goals in five European fixtures so far.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Villarreal's vital Group L game in the Europa League, as the Spanish club play host to Steaua Bucharest at El Madrigal. As it stands, any of the four teams can go through, with the Yellow Submarine currently propping up the table on six points. Fran Escriba's men could easily finish top or bottom before the final whistle tonight, with qualification to the next round of the competition on the line.