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Villarreal cruise through Conference League group stage with Austria Wien win

The Yellows are already through

Austria Wien v Villarreal CF: Group C - UEFA Europa Conference League
The Yellows are on course to win their group
Photo by Thomas Pichler/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Villarreal have cruised through to the next stage of the Europa Conference League.

The Yellow Submarine left it late to see off Austria Wien on Thursday night, with Nicolas Jackson scoring a much-needed goal to win it with just three minutes remaining.

Unai Emery’s men came into this competition as joint favourites with West Ham, and they have not disappointed.

The Yellows have won all four of their games, securing progression to the next stage with two games remaining.

What’s more, they can secure top spot later this evening should Lech Poznan fail to beat Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Emery has taken the opportunity to rest key players in this competition this season, though tonight’s team was stronger than it has been.

Still, Villarreal have been able to cruise through without reaching even third gear.

They still have Hapoel and Lech Poznan to play before wrapping up the group stage campaign, but they will have to wait until early next year for the knockout stages.

In fact, if Villarreal win their group, as expected, they will avoid playing in the next stage which sees the eight group runners-up take on the eight third-placed teams from the Europa League group stage.

Group winners then rejoin the competition at the Round of 16 stage, playing against the winners of each of the play-off ties. Group winners will be kept apart.

Finishing as group winners would also earn the Yellows €650,000 in prize money, double what they would earn finishing second.

Not to mention each group stage win is worth €500,000, while reaching the Round of 16 stage - which would be automatic in the case of winning the group - would bag an extra €600,000.