In the Europa League semi-finals the first leg, Villarreal celebrated a 2-1 win over Arsenal but will regret the missed chances and mistakes in the second half that allowed the Gunners to return to the game ahead of the return leg in London.
The home team claimed a 2-1 victory having absolute control over the match after the break, although scoring the two winning goals in the first half.
Villarreal recorded an early opening by Manu Trigueros scoring a goal in the 5th minute of the match. Gerard Moreno pulled the strings assisting for the second goal when Raul Albiol scored in the 29th minute.
Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol gave Villarreal a dream start at La Ceramica and the tie looked to be sliding away from Arsenal when Ceballos was shown a second yellow card early in the second half.
Dani Ceballos could take comfort in the fact that his team was in the lead as he got a red card at 57 minutes of the game. In 68 games played under Mikel Arteta, this was the 10th red card for the Gunners. Nicolas Pépé scored a (rather suspicious) penalty that brought his team an away goal and a return to the match.
Before Villarreal’s Etienne Capoue also saw red with 10 minutes left to play, Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, shifting the scored board to 2-1.
As Villarreal defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals, Unai Emery won the first battle against his former club on Thursday.
Villarreal 2 – 1 Arsenal
Goals: 1-0 Trigueros 5, 2-0 Albiol 29, 2-1 Pepe 73
Bookings: Torres; Thomas, Aubameyang
Sent off: Capoue; Ceballos
Villarreal: Rulli, Alfonso, Torres, Albiol, Foyth, Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo, Chukwueze, Alcacer, Moreno
Substitutions: Coquelin, Moreno, Gaspar, Gomez
Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Rowe, Ceballos, Thomas, Saka, Odegaard, Pepe
Substitutions: Martinelli, Willian, Aubameyang, Elneny
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