After four series of matches, “Czerwony Diabły” were the leader of group F, in which the rivalry is quite fierce. The second-placed team from Spain has the same score in points (7 “points”), and the third Atalanta Bergamo has accumulated five of them so far. Even the closing team of Young Boys Bern (3 points) still has a real chance to fight for the promotion.
United entered the game after a painful league defeat against Watford (1-4), which broke the cup of bitterness and led to a break-up with coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Michael Carrick is temporarily leading the team.
The meeting started seven minutes late after one of the referees had technical problems with connectivity. Already in the 1st minute Ronaldo had a nice spin on the left side of the field, but it did not translate into an attempt to threaten Rullie’s goal. Less than 180 seconds later, the visitors enforced a free kick in front of the Villarreal penalty area. However, McTominay’s shot hit the side net.
In the 5th minute the Spaniards responded with a dangerous shot, and United saved De Gea’s reflexes from losing a goal. After the initial attack of the “Red Devils” the hosts took the floor for good. In the 11th minute Pino hit the side net from an acute angle. Soon after, there was a lot of controversy – the ball hit the hand of one of its players in the English team’s penalty area, and Brych, the leader of the match, soon decided that Villarreal did not deserve a “eleven”.
In the 20th minute Pino played the main role again, after a quick exchange of passes, being in an excellent position to cross. However, he sent the ball very inaccurately. The advantage of the hosts was maintained, and the ball was hosted extremely rarely within their “sixteen”. In the 27th minute De Gea showed a great reflex again, saving his team.
In the 33rd minute we saw the first individual penalty – the yellow card was seen by the most active Pino. Ronaldo enforced a free kick in front of the hosts’ penalty area, but this shot was not the best. In the next action, however, he invited the defensive Villarreal to dance, but Martial, to whom he sent a pass after outmaneuvering his rivals, did not “hit the pace”. Just before the break, United threatened themselves: Van de Beek severely fouled and the hosts enforced a free kick about 30 meters from the goal. Parejo hit just above the bar. There were no goals before the change of sides.
The second part of the game began with the hosts’ attempts to attack, but they did not result in much. In the 54th minute, the eaters hit the target – specifically Fred, but a light shot had no right to cause a problem for the goalkeeper. There is no need to hide – the level of the match did not throw you to your knees, and United, although in theory the win put the team in a comfortable situation and guaranteed promotion to the 1/8 finals, was not able to boldly bet on the attack.
And Villarreal … did his job and in the 59th minute he created the best opportunity he had had so far. Trigueros struck situationally, and De Gea, despite being obstructed, instinctively managed to deflect the strike. Four minutes later, Danjuma was unattended in the visitors’ penalty area, who had plenty of time to try on carefully, but carried the ball over the bar.
The United team was able to shake off and after the 65th minute of the game took the initiative, holding the ball for a long time in the opponent’s half. In the 71st minute, Sancho received a great pass, he went to the center, but at the last moment he was overtaken by the goalkeeper.
In the 78th minute, Manchester United took the lead thanks to the reliable Ronaldo. The latter took advantage of the hosts’ catastrophic mistake when delivering the ball and lobbed the goalkeeper in cold blood. In the 84th minute, after another defensive error, the Portuguese could have increased the lead, but this time he hit slightly off target.
The last minutes brought a quieter game. When it seemed that the next goals would not be scored, in the 90th minute Sancho added to the visitors’ lead, showing off with a spectacular hitting the window. This is his premiere goal for the team.
Manchester United’s triumph means that he is already sure of reaching the 1/8 finals. Villarreal will be fighting for him against Atalanta Bergamo and Young Boys Bern, who will face each other at 20:45.
/AFP / AFP JOSE JORDAN / /AFP