Villarreal eliminate Leverkusen from Europa League

Leverkusen (Germany), March 18 (IANS) Spanish football club Villarreal held Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen to a goalless draw in the second leg to progress 2-0 on aggregate in Europa League’s round of the 16 clash.

The goalless draw was enough for the visitors as harmless Bayer Leverkusen were unable to turn around a 0-2 loss from the first leg. With the result here on Thursday, Villarreal secured their place in the quarter-finals for the fourth time, reports Xinhua.

Villarreal staged a faultless defensive performance to drive Bayer Leverkusen to desperation over 90 minutes. The hosts dominated the ball but lacked in accuracy to threaten Villarreal’s well positioned defence. Thus, goal-scoring opportunities remained a rare occurrence in front of 23,409 spectators at the Bay Arena stadium.

However, the visitors did not only defend well but they also created dangerous fast counter attacks as Deniz Suarez forced defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos to block an effort in the nick of time in the 34th minute.

Leverkusen controlled the ball but were missing in ideas to overcome Villarreal’s defence. The host had to wait until the 54th minute to produce the first promising opportunity as Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner found Papadopoulos, whose header was blocked by goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

Despite less ball possession Villarreal remained a threat. Manu Trigueros’ shot on the empty goal should have made the game safe but Andre Ramalho scratched the ball from the line, before Adrian Lopez squandered another premium chance moments later.

It did not matter though, as Villarreal never looked in danger to give away their first leg advantage.

“We controlled the proceedings on the pitch but we lacked in urgency. A goal would have given us an impetus. Villarreal played better in both legs,” Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt said after the match.

“We outclassed Bayer Leverkusen in both encounters,” Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia Toral said.

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