After so many tight matches with golden scoring opportunities gone a-begging, who knew? Yes, Villarreal took advantage of a weak opponent to create tons of chances, but this time five of them found their way into the back of the net to give Villarreal their biggest win in the Europa League group stage ever, as it turned out.
The Yellow Submarine fielded a 4-2-3-1 with Toko Ekambi up top, and within 20 minutes Toko Ekambi had had two fine chances but missed the target with both. However, in the 26th minute he was put through again, this time when he tried to round the keeper he brought the ball back out and crossed it to Pablo Fornals who volleyed home.
Toko Ekambi was to score himself four minutes later, receiving the ball with three defenders around him and lashing a first-time shot past the keeper, and then in the last minute of the first half he scored a diving header off a Miguelon cross. Quite a half for the Cameroun international. (Apparently, this has been credited as an own goal by some, could be he headed the ball off the defender’s foot, but we’re giving it to him).
HT Villarreal 3-0 Rapid Wien
The second half began quietly enough, but Villarreal added a fourth in the 63rd minute, a fine team passing play finished off by Dani Raba. Battling Jaume Costa, already on a yellow, was awarded a second for a nonexistent dive on 78 minutes, but no matter, Villarreal completed the manera with a Gerard Moreno goal, assisted by Samu Chukwueze.
Rapid actually had a couple of chances to score late but Andrés did well to save the shutout.
FT Villarreal 5-0 Rapid Wien
Outstanding from Ekambi (two assists, one or two goals depending on how you count) but Fornals (goal and assist), Raba and Layun, also did well. As did Trigueros and Caceres. As for Rapid, their defense was poor, their keeper poor, but credit Villarreal with a lot of that. Surely they will be better in Austria, but this was a beating.
MOTM: Ekambi, followed by Fornals.
Should give us some confidence going to Alavés!
Villarreal and Rangers are tied on 5 pts, Rapid on 3, Spartak 2.