Villarreal came away with a hard-earned point away from home against SK Rapid Viena (0-0) in a match that the Yellow Submarine had plenty of clear-cut chances in to have been able to come away with more. The point picked up on Austrian soil makes the Yellows leaders of Group G, after Spartak Moscow beat Rangers (4-3) in the other group game.
After a quarter of an hour of play, Villarreal were the first to show their intentions. Pedraza, after some great combination play with Raba, let rip a powerful strike that Strebinger pushed wide for a corner. From the corner kick, Cáseres connected with the ball to send another bullet of a shot at Rapid’s goal, but the green and white’s keeper was equal to it again.
Just four minutes later, Sansone had a fantastic chance to put the Yellows in front. The Italian, after making a great run, got on the end of a through ball from Pedraza to go through one on one against Strebinger, who saved the day again for the Vienna side.
Half an hour in, the Yellows were dominating. Villarreal were patient in their build up as they went in search of opening the scoring. In the 32nd minute, Rapid Vienna had their first clear chance of the game. Berish took advantage of a defensive error to test a solid Andrés Fernández, who saved the home side midfielder’s effort.
After the break, the first chance of the second half fell to Vienna. In the 52nd minute, Pavlovic’s effort brushed the post after he attempted to beat Andrés from a cross in from teammate Berisha. At the start of the second half, the Submarine lost their rhythm and so, to gain more depth, Calleja brought on Toko Ekambi in the 61st minute.
The final minutes saw chances at both ends. For Villarreal, Toko Ekambi had the best chance. The French-Cameroonian forward hit the side netting with his shot on a counterattack. In added time, the Submarine tried everything they could to break the deadlock Santi Cazorla came really close with a shot from long range that just missed the post.
As the game had almost come to an end, the 95th minute saw Villarreal come as close as they could to scoring. After a great run forward, Toko Ekambi received the ball inside the box and played a ball across the face of goal to Gerard Moreno, who tried to get on the end of the ball to knock it across the line from close range. However, at the last second, somehow the Austrian defence anticipated what would happen and managed to clear the ball off the goal line when it seemed it had gone in.
A well-earned point won by Villarreal in Vienna and Spartak Moscow’s win over Rangers FC puts Villarreal CF in first place in Group G of the UEFA Europa League.
SK Rapid Viena: Strebinger; Müldur, Sonnleitner, Dibon (Bolingoli, m. 75), Potzmann; Berisha, Ljubicic, Schwab, Ivan; Murg (Knasmüllner, m. 45) and Pavlovic (Martic, m. 90).
Villarreal CF: Andrés; Mario Gaspar, Bonera (Funes Mori, m. 45), Víctor Ruiz, Pedraza; M. Layún (Toko Ekambi, m. 61), S. Cáseres, S. Cazorla, Sansone; Raba (P. Fornals, m. 75) and Gerard.
Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic (Serbia). Booked: Schwab, Berisha and Sonnleitner for Rapid; Cáseres, Layún, Pedraza and Fornals for Villarreal.
Match Information: Match between SK Rapid Viena and Villarreal, corresponding to Matchday 4 of the group stage of the Europa League at the Weststadion in Vienna.