Spanish side Villarreal continued their fine form in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night after a 2-1 win over Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Goals from Jose Luis Morales and Alex Baena were enough to hand Unai Emery’s men the all-important three points.
The Yellow submarines head into the game following a disappointing 1-0 narrow defeat in the La Liga to Real Betis over the weekend. A win was what they needed to get back on track, and they were spot on as they delivered an excellent performance.
Villarreal starting eleven saw the absence of Pau Torres, Dani Parejo, Etienne Capoue, Alfonso Pedraza, Arnaut Danjuma, and first-choice goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli; all settled down for a place on the bench. At the same time, Yeremy Pino and Jose Luis Morales were thrown straight right into the action.
Emery’s side dominated proceedings in the early stages of the first half, pegging their Israeli host in their half as they were forced to defend.
The pressure eventually paid off as Villarreal was rewarded a penalty in the 27th minute after winger Alex Baena was brought down in the 18yard by goalkeeper Omri Glazer with Morales slotting down the middle to hand his side the lead.
The host tried to rally round in search of an equalizer, with an opportunity presenting itself in the 32nd minute when Eugene Ansah right footed shot went wide of the post following brilliant work from Eden Shamir.
The second half began with Emery making two changes, bringing on Kiko Femenia and Nicolas Jackson to replace Adrian De la Fuente and Samuel Chukwueze.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva got back into the game to level in the 63rd minute when Rotem Hatuel’s effort found the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Villarreal finally responded four minutes later through Alex Baena following a whipped-in cross by Yeremy Pino to restore the lead and held on firmly to secure another win.
The Victory sees the La Liga side remain on top of Group C with six points, with Hapoel Be’er Sheva languishing in third place.
All attention turns to La Liga as Villareal host Sevilla on Sunday, 18th September 2022.