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Villarreal 2-1 Sparta Prague: will it be enough?

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Despite controlling the match and having over 25 shots, Villarreal will take a slender 2-1 advantage to the Czech Republic.

Bakambu celebrates his first goal on the night
Bakambu celebrates his first goal on the night
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Villarreal won at El Madrigal, yes, but gave up a sucker-punch goal off a corner at the very end of the first half which they could regret.  It's hard to figure out what to make of this result--yes, on the face of it, Villarreal were a far superior team which should have been 2 or 3 goals ahead at the break, but then again, it's the goals that count.

Bakambu scored barely two minutes on a comical play where the Sparta keeper, receiving a back pass, tried to make a pass with Bakambu blocking the ball into the net.  The Submarine should have had more, Castillejo, Soldado, Bakambu all with chances, and they paid fir it when just before the break a corner from Borek Dockal was headed home by Brabec, outmuscling Victor Ruiz.

Villarreal scored--that man Bakambu again--to take the lead with just under a half-hour remaining, but though there were plenty of opportunities to add to the lead, the scoreline finished 2-1.

8 shots, 5 on target for Sparta, 25 shots, 10 on target for Villarreal.  The second leg won't be a formality; if Villarreal can score a goal there, and given how many chances they had today you'd think it likely, then Sparta would need two to force extra time.   One encouraging statistic is that Villarreal have never lost a knockout pairing when leading after the first leg, I understand.

Highlights here..