The host ends the Submarine’s European dream in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League
Villarreal got through the UEFA Europa League group stage as top of their group in Group A, dominating against their rivals, although it was not an easy journey. The Yellows confirmed their stage in the knockout rounds in the penultimate game against Astana in Kazakhstan (2-3).
Fran Escribá’s side started the competition with a comfortable win over Astana (3-1). On Matchday 2, the Submarine got a point, thanks to a draw in Israel, against Maccabi Tel-Aviv (0-0), which was Javi Calleja’s first match as head coach of the first team.
After that game, there was another draw, this time at home to Slavia Prague (2-2). On the following matchday, against the same team, the Submarine came out victorious, getting three decisive points in the Czech Republic (0-2).
The first place in the group was sealed with victory against Astana (2-3), in a direct duel for the leadership of Group A. In the final game, with first place now guaranteed and a number of academy players in the line-up, Villarreal lost to Maccabi Tel-Aviv at the Estadio de la Cerámica (0-1).
Despite finishing top of the group, the Submarine’s opposition in the Round of 32 was a tough team, Olympique Lyonnais, who would host the competition’s final. The first leg, at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, ended 3-1 to the French side.