The game: 1-0
On the scale of Villarreal’s history, that’s a pretty big achievement. At the end of a very successful match, the Spaniards, perfectly organized and carried by an exceptional Giovani Lo Celso, defeated Bayern Munich (1-0) and showed that their qualification in the previous round against Juventus Turin (1-1, 3 – 0) was not much due to chance. With a little more efficiency, especially towards the end of the game, the Spaniards should have taken even more advantage in view of the return leg.
Unai Emery’s game plan with a very compact 4-4-2, hosted by the delightful Giovani Lo Celso, worked flawlessly, negating the intentions of his counterpart Julian Nagelsmann. Highly disciplined around an effective Capoue-Coquelin pair, the Spaniards limited Bavarian creativity. Neither Kingsley Coman, placed on the right, much less Serge Gnabry on the left, managed to unbalance Villarreal’s block. Without creativity, weighed down by unusual technical errors, Bayern Munich never managed to create situations in the first half except for a volley from Kimmich (23rd).
Unai Emery’s men opened the score with a substitute from Danjuma (8th) after a well-constructed collective action. They could have ended this first period with a bigger lead. Francis Coquelin’s goal, on a very lucky shot in the middle, was declared invalid due to an initial offside position (41st). Étienne Capoue, dominating in midfield, saw his shot go wrong (45th +1). When it was resumed, the balance of power did not change. And it was Villarreal who should have given himself a bigger lead after a superb attack by Moreno that finished his race on the post (53rd) and then on a transition saved in the end by Davies for Moreno (57th).
Five minutes later, after a bad dismissal from Manuel Neuer, Moreno was still very close to liberating the ceramics stadium. Bayern Munich, despite changes (particularly the arrival of Sané), struggled to be precise. Coman, in legs, couldn’t find the opening. Rulli averted an attack from Davies (66th). Villarreal will probably blame themselves for not turning over all their situations. Danjuma, alone against Neuer (66th) and Pedraza (87th) missed the opportunity. In the return leg, Bayern Munich will have to show a completely different face to qualify.
The player: Lo Celso, an evening pleasure
This winter he could have joined OL. Instead, the Argentine midfielder (25), on loan from Tottenham, lit up this quarter-final against Bayern Munich with his immense talent. The left-hander is a wonderful player. And this Wednesday evening, he was indispensable for his share price and his creativity. Originally from the outside of the opener’s foot, the former Parisian was then a constant source in the forays of the ball. And a gif in the transitions.
This outside opening from the left for the Dutch Danjuma had earned a decisive pass (68th). Like this return of the ball and this serve for Pedraza (87th). In addition to his constant offensive contribution, Lo Celso will have been very valuable in Alphonso Davies’ cover and climbs. A complete game. Something to give the Paris fans some regrets….
The fact: if Moreno doesn’t take advantage of Neuer’s blunder…
Gérard Moreno will undoubtedly remember this action in the 62nd minute for a long time in his nightmares. A series that could have changed the course of this first leg in the quarterfinals. The Spain international should have taken advantage of Manuel Neuer’s incredible blunder to make matters worse. On an insignificant ball, the Bavarian goalkeeper completely missed his ball and landed on Moreno. But the Spaniard’s immediate shot went to the left of the frame… A huge missed opportunity…