(1) We did our best to gift Zenit an early goal (two defensive blunders) but Azmoun chipped over with one chance and Andrés came out to block his other one. If either of those had gone in, we certainly could have had a more tense night.
(2) Gerard Moreno had his best game of the season. He scored one goal, assisted another, and would have had a second goal had Jaume Costa passed the ball to him instead of firing a shot off the crossbar in the dying minutes.
(3) The last time these two teams met (2008 UEFA Cup Round of 32), Villarreal won 2-1 at home, but Zenit advanced on away goals, and went on to win the entire thing. Would be nice if this tie threw up the overall winner this time!
(4) The other Spanish sides made it interesting. Valencia scored a goal in the last minute of injury time to progress against Krasnodar, while Sevilla allowed a goal with a minute to play in extra time and went out to Slavia Prague, 4-3 (6-5 on aggregate).
(5) Now we look forward to Rayo!
The draw for the quarterfinals—and semifinals—will be made tomorrow in Nyon, Switzerland, at 1300 hrs Central European Time (that’s 5AM here in California, I think!). It follows the draw for the Champions League an hour earlier and can be streamed on UEFA.com.
The other teams in the draw are: Chelsea, Napoli, Arsenal, Valencia, Eintracht Frankfurt, Benfica, and Slavia Prague.