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Villarreal Out Of Champions League

Champions League trophyVillarreal are heading to the Europa League after losing 1-0 at Monaco, and 3-1 on aggregate in the Champions League play-off.

The Yellow Submarine needed two goals to have any chance of progression, but the first half went as realists would have predicted, the Spaniards seeing plenty of the ball yet creating very little, while the Principality outfit looked dangerous on the counterattack.

Indeed, the best chance in the opening 40 minutes fell to Monaco as Thomas Lemar hit a pullback in the box first time that squeezed between Sergio Asenjo’s legs, although the goalkeeper just about scrambled to stop the ball from rolling over the line.

However, Villarreal should have been ahead just before half-time through Borre, who was released through on goal by Bruno Soriano’s drilled through ball, yet the Atletico Madrid loanee could only shoot straight at Danijel Subasic and saw his rebound kept out by a last-ditch Jemerson tackle.

Borre instantly looked to make amends for his miss as he began the second half with two snapshots, yet he could only fire the ball wide from the edge of box when teed up by an otherwise-ineffective Alexandre Pato and then drag an effort wide, central to Subasic’s goal.

That was as it good as it got for the Yellow Submarine, whose new boss Fran Escriba further piled the pressure on himself with at least two bizarre substitutions that saw Jaume Costa make his long-awaited comeback in a like-for-like swap with Jose Angel at left-back and defender-midfielder Alfred N’Diaye replace the arguably more-attacking Roberto Soriano.

Their chronic lack of ambition was duly punished heading into stoppage time as Mateo Musacchio blocked a Fabinho cross with his arm, allowing the former Real Madrid full-back to smash the resulting penalty into the roof of Asenjo’s net and leave Spain with one less representative in the group stage.