The official website for European football

Sublime Suárez strike gives Villarreal the edge

Published: Thursday 18 February 2016, 21.00CET
Villarreal 1-0 Napoli
Denis Suárez thundered in a free-kick with eight minutes left to end the visitors' 100% record and earn the Yellow Submarine the advantage.
Sublime Suárez strike gives Villarreal the edge
Denis Suárez's goal was the difference between the sides at El Madrigal ©AFP/Getty Images

Match statistics

VillarrealNapoli

Goals scored1
 
0
Possession (%)43
 
57
Total attempts10
 
12
on target3
 
2
off target4
 
7
blocked3
 
3
against woodwork0
 
0
Corners3
 
2
Offsides3
 
3
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed11
 
11
Fouls suffered10
 
10

Standings

Published: Thursday 18 February 2016, 21.00CET

Sublime Suárez strike gives Villarreal the edge

Villarreal 1-0 Napoli
Denis Suárez thundered in a free-kick with eight minutes left to end the visitors' 100% record and earn the Yellow Submarine the advantage.

  • Denis Suárez's 82nd-minute free-kick gives Villarreal slim lead
  • Napoli lose 100% record after winning all six Group D games
  • Italian side come into match as top scorers but fail to find net
  • Hosts make it four home wins from four in competition this season
  • Second leg is next Thursday, with last-16 draw 24 hours later

Villarreal will take a narrow first-leg advantage to Naples after Denis Suárez's thunderbolt of a free-kick earned the spoils in a tight UEFA Europa League round of 32 encounter at the Estadio El Madrigal.

It was nip and tuck throughout as Napoli – the group stage's top scorers – were kept at bay by a well-disciplined defensive performance from the hosts. Marcelino's team were rewarded when Suárez's right-footed effort from 25 metres zipped over the wall and crashed into Pepe Reina's net via the underside of the crossbar with eight minutes remaining.

No side had conceded fewer goals in the group stage than Napoli, but the visitors almost gifted the opener to Roberto Soldado. Dragged out wide, Reina's scuffed clearance presented the Villarreal No9 with an open goal from 30 metres. However, the Napoli keeper ate up the metres and flung himself wildly in the way of the shot, the last-gasp intervention preventing serious embarrassment.

Maurizio Sarri's men had struck 22 times in Group D yet opportunities were thin on the ground. Manolo Gabbiadini had two half-chances fall his way, screwing a low attempt wide before just failing to get a toe on Dries Mertens's teasing cross from the left.

Soldado failed to connect with a Léo Baptistão centre when free in the middle before José Callejón timed a run perfectly to connect with Mirko Valdifiori's delightful dinked ball over the top of the home defence; however, the Napoli winger guided it wide with only Alphonse Aréola to beat. Mertens then blazed over from an angle and it looked as if the teams would head to Italy all square – but Suárez had other ideas.

Key player: Denis Suárez (Villarreal)
A UEFA Europa League winner last season with Sevilla, the 22-year-old obviously loves this competition. Even before his decisive and devastating free-kick, the former Manchester City prospect had impressed on the left flank. A running battle with Ivan Strinić proved entertaining throughout, with the Villarreal attacker's deft feet and subtle movement helping him win that battle on points.

Halting Hamšík proves vital
Napoli captain Marek Hamšík had faced Villarreal three times previously with the club and scored on every occasion. However, the sequence came to a halt as the hosts never let the deep-lying playmaker get more than an arm's length away from a marker. It was a similar story with Callejón and Mertens – ten goals and five assists between them in the group stage – who were rarely given a spare second to wreak the havoc they have usually caused.

Villarreal make most of home comforts
Four home games in this 2015/16 competition and four wins for the Yellow Submarine. Not only that, their defence remains unbreached on home turf. That record looked under threat at the start of play as the heavy artillery of Napoli rolled into town, but the Spaniards did not yield any ground and earned themselves a great chance of making the last 16.

Last updated: 19/02/16 0.04CET

Related information

Player profiles
  • SSI Err
Team profiles
  • SSI Err
  • SSI Err
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2016/matches/round=2000659/match=2017180/postmatch/report/index.html#suarez+puts+villarreal+ahead

Lineups

villarreal

Villarreal

napoli

Napoli

13
AreolaAlphonse Areola (GK)
25
ReinaPepe Reina (GK)
2
Mario GasparMario Gaspar
2
HysajElseid Hysaj
5
MusacchioMateo Musacchio
Yellow Card86
3
StrinićIvan Strinić
6
Víctor RuizVíctor Ruiz
6
ValdifioriMirko Valdifiori
Yellow Card38
8
J. Dos SantosJonathan dos Santos
Substitution36
7
CallejónJosé Callejón
Yellow Card67
Substitution73
9
SoldadoRoberto Soldado
Yellow Card90+1
14
MertensDries Mertens
10
BaptistãoLéo Baptistão
Substitution61
17
HamšíkMarek Hamšík (C)
11
Jaume CostaJaume Costa
19
David LópezDavid López
Substitution83
14
TriguerosManu Trigueros
Substitution74
21
ChiricheşVlad Chiricheş
18
Denis SuárezDenis Suárez
Goal82
23
GabbiadiniManolo Gabbiadini
Substitution67
21
Bruno SorianoBruno Soriano (C)
26
KoulibalyKalidou Koulibaly

Substitutes

25
BarbosaMariano Barbosa (GK)
22
GabrielGabriel (GK)
4
PinaTomás Pina
Substitution74
5
AllanAllan
Substitution83
17
BakambuCédric Bakambu
Substitution61
9
HiguaínGonzalo Higuaín
Substitution67
19
CastillejoSamuel Castillejo
Substitution36
11
MaggioChristian Maggio
20
Adrián LópezAdrián López
24
InsigneLorenzo Insigne
Substitution73
Yellow Card83
22
RukavinaAntonio Rukavina
33
AlbiolRaúl Albiol
23
BoneraDaniele Bonera
77
El KaddouriOmar El Kaddouri

Coach

Marcelino (ESP) Maurizio Sarri (ITA)

Referee

Bas Nijhuis (NED)

Assistant referees

Rob van de Ven (NED), Charles Schaap (NED)

Fourth official

Davie Goossens (NED)

Additional assistant referees

Kevin Blom (NED), Peter Janssen (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution