Villarreal stunned Juventus with three late goals to go through to the quarter-finals with a spring in their step.
Thankful to the woodwork and to Gerónimo Rulli for a string of fine saves that kept Juventus at bay, Villarreal were forced to sit deep for extended periods before unleashing a stunning three-goal counter-punch in the closing 12 minutes. The Yellow Submarine march on to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for only the third time.
This ended up looking like the perfect European away performance from Unai Emery’s men, but how they needed Rulli to lay the foundation in the first half.
Gerónimo Rulli pulls off a fine save to deny Dušan VlahovićGetty Images
The visiting goalkeeper denied Álvaro Morata and Dušan Vlahović with fine saves inside the opening 20 minutes, and was then grateful to see the latter’s cute shot come off the crossbar.
Rulli and Vlahović were at it again before the interval, a point-blank stop on this occasion keeping the scores level.
The tide turned in the blink of an eye, Gerard Moreno setting Villarreal on their way when he converted – just – from the penalty spot. Pau Torres then turned in from a corner to put Villarreal’s progress beyond doubt, leaving Arnaut Danjuma to add gloss with a spot kick of his own in added time.
Both teams could be forgiven for wondering just how it all came to pass.
Gerónimo Rulli, Player of the Match: “Tonight will go down in history. We had a chance to make history and the side deserve this. The prep we put into tonight was why we won.”
Villareal celebrate after the final whistleGetty Images
Unai Emery, Villarreal coach: “I’m proud of everything; for Spanish football, for Villarreal and for getting into the quarter-finals of this competition for the first time as a coach.”
Gerard Moreno, Villarreal striker: “I actually missed the last penalty I took in a game, but everyone had my back and I knew I was going to score. Never in doubt!”
Discussion about this post