Villarreal’s first match under Luis Garcia Plaza ended in success with a 2-0 victory over Spartak Moscow. Highlights are here:
Was this a better Villarreal performance than we would have seen under Calleja? Hard to say. The back four continued to have issues, but Andres Fernandez produced two good saves to keep us ahead. Santy Caseres and Javi Fuego in the pivote worked OK, Caseres hit the crossbar with what would have been our third goal.
One thing that was noticeable—Toko Ekambi is playing with newfound confidence. Attribute that to the Almeria match, maybe? Overall, there was not a whole lot that was terribly different—understandable given the small amount of time the new coach has had to work with the side—but there was a bit more purpose and, a bit more luck. Sometimes that’s what you need.
Villarreal finished first in their group, and Rapid Vienna finished second after defeating Rangers 1-0 (sorry, Stevie G).
Our possible opponents in the round of 32 are:
Zurich; Celtic; Slavia Prague, Viktoria Plžen; Fenerbahce, Galatasaray;
Sporting Lisbon; Olympiakos; Malmö; Krasnodar; Rennes; BATE Borisov; Club Brugge, Shaktar Donetsk
Whoever we play, Jaume Costa will surely be out as a result of his red card late on today. At least one match, I’m thinking two.
Who would you like to face? The draw will be December 17.