An 84th-minute goal from Hans Henrik Andreasen gave Odense BK a narrow advantage over Villarreal CF after the Danish side withstood heavy second-half pressure in their UEFA Champions League play-off opener.
OB had played some adventurous football in the first half, but as the game developed, Villarreal grew into it. After the break, the OB goal came under constant bombardment, but they held out and got the reward for their defiance when Andreasen pounced on a loose back pass from Cristián Zapata and finished clinically.
The hosts were missing their top scorer last season, Peter Utaka, Norwegian defender Tore Reginiussen and former French international Bernard Mendy. It did not seem to faze them, though, as they created the best chances early on. First, Andreasen nodded just wide before more pressure nearly resulted in an own goal.
At the other end defender Mateo Musacchio came close, but saw his header cleared off the line by Kalilou Traoré. The near miss kick-started the visitors, and as the first half progressed Villarreal's nippy forwards Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi grew ever more influential. Rossi, in particular, tried his luck twice, firing just wide before Stefan Wessels produced a fingertip save to deny the Yellow Submarine an away goal.
Both teams moved close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half as the keepers at both ends produced tremendous saves, but it was Villarreal who were on top with Rossi a constant thorn. Still, the lively home crowd were maintaining their enthusiasm as the match remained goalless and their team continued to defend resolutely.
They were nearly deflated with ten minutes remaining when it opened up for visiting wing back Mario Gasper, but Wessels saved well again. OB were hanging on, but they then shocked Villarreal when Andreasen caught out Zapata, stepped around the covering defender and slammed his shot into the roof of the net. It may need another equally defiant performance to secure a group stage berth next week in Spain.
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