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Zürich off the mark after Villarreal thriller

FC Zürich 3-2 Villarreal CF
The hosts registered their first Group A win to revive qualification hopes after a game in which all five goals were scored within an 11-minute spell.

Zürich savour their thrilling victory against Villarreal
Zürich savour their thrilling victory against Villarreal ©AFP/Getty Images

Zürich earn first Group A win to revive round-of-32 hopes
All five goals scored within an 11-minute first-half spell
Yassine Chikhaoui's winner moves hosts to within three points of visitors
Villarreal lose top spot to Mönchengladbach after first loss
Next games: Zürich v Apollon, Villarreal v Mönchengladbach (27 November)

FC Zürich reignited their hopes of making the knockout phase after earning a first Group A win against Villarreal CF, all five goals in their 3-2 victory coming in a frenetic 11-minute burst.

A lively but unspectacular opening gave no hint of the madness to come. Giovani dos Santos turned a chance wide at the front post for the visitors before Franck Etoundi headed off target at the other end.

The game sparked into life in spectacular fashion in the 19th minute as Tomás Pina's flicked header put Villarreal ahead, and that provided the catalyst for 11 minutes of thrilling, logic-defying football. Two minutes later, Etoundi got between goalkeeper and defender to head a leveller before Gerard Moreno crashed against the crossbar for the Yellow Submarine almost immediately. The 22-year-old's disappointment lasted a matter of seconds as he turned in a cross with an excellent volleyed finish four minutes after the opener.

There was no respite as Berat Djimsiti tried to get his head on Oliver Buff's inswinging free-kick; although he made no contact, the ball snuck in at the back post. On 29 minutes, Yassine Chikhaoui poked home from close to leave the Stadion Letzigrund stunned and Zürich 3-2 ahead.

There was no way the remainder of the game could live up to that baffling but brilliant period, though Pina went close to drawing the game level shortly after the restart only to be denied by home keeper David Da Costa when released into the area by a neat pass.

Antonio Rukavina smacked a shot against the post with a thunderbolt from range as the visitors chased the game, but Zürich held on to gain revenge for their 4-1 matchday three loss in Spain and move three points behind second-placed Villarreal with their first win in the section.

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