Villarreal had to settle for a draw in the away leg of their Europa Conference League round of 16 clash with Anderlecht.
Quique Setién’s men took the lead in wet and windy conditions in Brussels, but ultimately conceded a stunning equaliser to set up an intriguing second leg at Estadio de la Ceramica next week.
The conditions were horrible in Belgium, with rain smashing down from minute one to 90, but Villarreal started well on the slippery surface, knocking the ball around well and putting on a pretty physical display against a team that - in theory - should have been superior when it came to the physical side of things.
The Yellows took the lead in the 28th minute when Samu Chukwueze continued his bright form, facing up his man and delivering a perfect cross to the back post to pick out an unmarked Manu Trigueros. Trigueros had time to bring the ball down and lash home from close range.
In truth, chances were hard to come by for both teams, or at least clear-cut chances, but as it turned out, Anderlecht didn’t need one to find an equaliser. The Belgian side broke away after a mistake in midfield from Juan Foyth, but Anders Dreyer found himself alone as he approached the final third.
From there, he simply gave it a whack and the ball did the rest. From 30 yards or so, the ball siwrled in the wind and rain, giving Pepe Reina no chance. A fine strike from Dreyer, and one that finally brought the home side to life.
The crowd were energised, and so were Anderlecht, but Villarreal weathered the storm for a good 25 minutes before starting to create chances of their own again, bringing on the likes of Yeremy Pino, Gerard Moreno, Giovani Lo Celso and Nicolas Jackson.
Though, a winning goal did not arrive, and it’s on to next week’s second leg in Castellon with the two sides where they started, given there are no away goals.