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Villarreal held by stubborn Maccabi Haifa ahead of Rennes top spot clash

Villarreal have to win in France if they want to skip the play off round.

FBL-EUR-C3-VILLARREAL-MACCABI HAIFA Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Villarreal could’ve tied Rennes’ points tally at the top of Group F on Wednesday evening, but Maccabi Haifa had other ideas.

A night that, in theory, should have guaranteed three points for the Yellow Submarine turned out to be a very frustrating one for Marcelino and his side.

As expected, Villarreal had no trouble keeping hold of the ball, moving it around, and winning it back, but not many would’ve foreseen the problems that would arise in the final third.

Ben Brereton Díaz started up top alongside Álex Baena, and to be fair to the Chilean, he had a goal disallowed in the first half due to his strike partner teeing him up from an offside position. He cannot help this bad fortune, but his goal will soon come.

Baena struggled to involve himself in the game, often being pictured as a frustrated figure, the same being said for Trigueros on the other side, but it was Ilias Akhomach that looked the most threatening throughout the ninety.

FBL-EUR-C3-VILLARREAL-MACCABI HAIFA Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

The visitors never really caused Villarreal any problems, but there were a couple of self-inflicted errors in either half that would’ve put the hearts of all Villarreal supporters in their stomachs.

The final matchday of the Europa League group stage takes place next week and Villarreal need to take all three points away at Rennes if they want to dodge the playoffs. A draw wouldn’t even suffice as the French outfit has already accumulated an extremely superior goal difference.

For now, however, the focus is on this weekend’s game against high-flying Real Sociedad. Endavant!