Villarreal, in its most blurred version, could not defeat Maccabi Haifa and the first place in the group will be played the next day at the Rennes field, which they will be forced to win to avoid the knockout round and directly access the round of 16 of the Europa League.
Marcelino’s team, with rotations in its lineup, It did not have the intensity, rhythm and precision of other games, Therefore, it barely generated any danger against a rival that was encouraged in the second half and had the best opportunities to take the victory.
Villarreal started the match well, taking complete control of the ball against a very withdrawn opponent. The local monologue translated during the first minutes into several arrivals into the area, although without danger, with the exception of a header from Comesaña, after a corner kick, which went just wide.
Maccabi Haifa took advantage of the lack of precision of the Villarreal to shake off the dominance and stretch, although their greatest danger did not come from their own actions, but from Reina’s errors when releasing the ball.
A goal disallowed by Brereton, due to a previous offside by his assistant, Álex Baena, disconnected Villarreal from the match, and only Ilias Akomach kept the level with several worthy dribbles and passes.
Villarreal was infected by the slow pace of its rival in its engine room and barely generated any danger. beyond a couple of long shots from Trigueros and Amokach and a high shot from Brereton, after a brilliant personal action, already in first-half stoppage time.
After the break, Marcelino was forced to turn to his scorer, José Luis Morales, replacing Baena, who finished the first half with physical discomfort.
The first offensive approach, however, was carried out by Maccabi Haifa after a bad transfer from Altimira to Reina that the recently entered Pierrot was about to take advantage of.
Villarreal, slow and predictable, only scared their rival with the individual adventures of Akhomach, who tried his luck with a centered shot into the hands of the Israeli team’s goalkeeper.
The entrance to the game of Pedraza, Coquelin and Gerard Moreno gave Villarreal a more recognizable game and helped tilt the game towards Maccabi Haifa’s area, although the scoring opportunities still did not come.
The clearest goal option, with 20 minutes left, was Pierrot, who failed to head a cross from the wing, only in the small area.
Shortly after, and in the midst of local defensive confusion, it was David who touched the goal with a cross shot after picking up a bad rebound.
Villarreal got into a rush in the final minutes, in which they intensified their dominance and had their chance in a shot by Coquelin that Keouf cleared. However, It was Maccabi Haifa, on the counterattack, who could have won the game already in stoppage time with a shot by Kandil that Reina cleared to at least keep alive the hope of reaching first place in the group.
Villarreal: Queen; Foyth (Pedraza, min. 56), Gabbia, Cuenca, Altimira; Akomach, Comesaña (Coquelin, min. 56), Capoue, Trigueros (Jorge Pascual, min. 83); Álex Baena (Morales, min. 46) and Brereton Díaz (Gerard Moreno, min. 65).
Maccabi Haifa: Keouf; Sundgren (Feingold, min. 60), Gershon, Simic, Kandil; Hagag (Podgoreanu, min. 60), Show (Naor, min. 77), Mohamed (Jaber, min. 42); Khalaili (Pierrot, min. 46), David y Rafaelov.
Referee: Nicholas Wals (Scotland). He showed yellow cards to Capoue, Foyth and Pedraza for Villarreal, and Refaelov and Naor for Maccabi Haifa.
Incidents: Match corresponding to the third day of the group stage of the Europa League, postponed at the time due to the war between Israel and Palestine, played at the La Cerámica Stadium in Villarreal before 9,365 spectators, all Villarreal season ticket holders, now that for security reasons, Israeli fans were not allowed to enter nor were tickets sold at the box office.
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