Villarreal have made qualifying for the Round of 32 rather more difficult following their home loss to Osmanlispor today. I'd like to say it was an undeserved result, but it really wasn't. Villarreal were poor in attack and poor in defense, and while no one played well, Villarreal fans will mostly be blaming Andres Fernandez I expect--our keeper was responsible for both goals, the first by playing himself out of position by flapping at a free kick, then a cross, and the second when he parried a shot from an acute angle right into the middle of the goal box.
If Andrés was at fault for the goals, it has to be said no one else helped him out much. Our attack was just too predictable and unfocused. Pierre Webo's goal in the eighth minute allowed the Turks to primarily defend the remainder of the half, and Cedric Bakambu and Santos Borré just weren't a good combination up front. Our only real chances came from Denis Cheryshev, who looked to be coming into form.
HT Villarreal 0-1 Osmanlispor
Within three minutes of the restart Villarreal were level, as Rodrigo's deflected shot gave the Osmanlispor keeper no chance. However, Villarreal's attack was really no better than in the first half. There were substiutions--Pato, Sansone and Samu Castillejo--but the sub that made the difference was that man again, ex-Sevilla player Rusescu.
Osmanlispor should have taken the lead a couple of minutes before, as another Andres Fernandez adventure left a gaping goal that was somehow missed, but in the 75th minute a Turkish defender broke up a pass forward for Bakambu, got the ball to Maher, I think on the right near midfield, and he managed to deke and give Bruno the slip to pass the ball to the onrushing attacker, who shot from a wide angle. Andres made a hash of the save, pushing it toward the penalty spot where Rusescu, who had just come in two minutes before, pounced.
Villarreal finally found a bit of offensive firepower in injury time, but Sansone's swerving shot was kept out by Arikan and he also blocked a couple of attempts off a corner as time ran out.
FT Villarreal 1-2 Osmanlispor
In the other group game, Zurich and Steaua Bucharest drew 0-0, so the table now looks like: Osmanlispor 7 points, Villarreal 5, Zurich 5, Steaua Bucharest 3. Villarreal's next match is in Zurich.