Chukwueze’s Villarreal crash out of Europa Conference League

Chukwueze’s Villarreal crash out of Europa Conference League

The Nigerian winger could not prevent the Spanish topflight giants from losing to the Belgians in Thursday’s return leg


Samuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal have been knocked out of the Europa Conference League following Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Anderlecht at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Islam Slimani scored the winner in the 73rd minute to send the Belgian First Division A outfit to the quarter-final on a 2-1 aggregate win.

Having played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Brussels, Villarreal came into the game as favourites. They started on a bright note with Alex Baena teeing up Gerard Moreno who shot tamely at goal.

Quique Setien’s men continued to probe Anderlecht’s backline with Zeno Debast bailing them out – deflecting out of play a curling shot from enterprising Chukwueze.

The visitors had their own few chances but they could not threaten Reina. At the end it was the Belgians who scaled through while the Yellow Submarine would be aiming to qualify for Europe next season.

Chukwueze – who has been called up for Nigeria’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers versus Guinea Bissau – was in action from start to finish, but could do little from helping the hosts.

On the other side, Nigeria prospect Ishaq Abdulrazak was an unused substitute by manager Brian Riemer.

“It’s a painful elimination. We were not outplayed. We generated enough, we played in the opposition’s half and the game wasn’t for us. All the chances we created didn’t lead to a goal. There are not many explanations,” Setien was quoted by the club website.

“They had their moments and they took advantage of them. We were better in almost everything in the overall tie, except for the most important thing, which is scoring.”

With their European ambition dashed, Villarreal continue with their La Liga campaign. They are guests of Osasuna on Sunday.

They occupy the sixth position in the Spanish elite division log having accrued 38 points from 25 matches.

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