21st of February 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Villarreal are hoping to pull off a fightback when they face Lyon in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League first knockout round tie on Thursday. The French side won the first leg 3-1 last week, Tanguy Ndombele, Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay scored for Lyon while Pablo Fornals smashed home the goal that gives Villarreal some hope of qualifying. Lyon have lost eight of their fifteen away matches against teams from Spain, but they have won ten of 31 meetings overall.
Villarreal are going through a slight crisis at the moment, they have lost three of their last four matches and have not tasted victory since the end of January. Last week they snatched a 1-1 draw at Espanyol in LaLiga, but their poor recent form saw them drop to sixth place in the league table. That said, winning the Europa League is their only realistic chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League. The Spaniards are also going through an injury crisis as five players are out of contention: Andres Fernandez, Ruben Semedo, Bruno Soriano, Nicola Sansone and Ramiro Guerra.
Lyon are not going through their best moment of the season either, they lost three of their last six matches in all competitions but they seem to be doing well in cup matches because they won the first leg of this tie and also made it to the quarter-finals of the French Cup. Last weekend they snatched a 2-2 league draw at Lille and they remain fourth in the Ligue 1 table. For them the Europa League would also be the most realistic gateway to Champions League football next season. Fernando Marcal is the only absence for the away side, he is suspended after having picked up a yellow card in the first leg.
Villarreal: Asenjo - Gaspar, Gonzalez, Ruiz, Costa - Raba, Rodri, Trigueros - Fornals - Bacca, Cheryshev
Lyon: Lopes - Tete, Marcelo, Morel, Mendy - Tousart, Ndombele - Traore, Fekir, Aouar - Mariano
My prediction: Villarreal to win 3-2.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Villarreal win - 2.04
Draw - 3.75
Lyon win - 3.75
21st of February 2018
1st of November 2017
The end result after the two legs was really predetermined even after the firs match.
The task looked quite tough for Villarreal against this good Lyon side and in the end there wasn't too many questions who's going to progress in the tournament.
Lyon could of hope they would reach at least as deeper as last season but it wont be easy of course.
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