Villarreal CF 0-1 RSCA

For the return match in the eighth final of the UEFA Conference League, Sporting went to Villarreal, where it faced a doable but arduous task with a 1-1 from the first match. Brian Riemer brought the same 11 names as in that outing between the lines. Thanks to an excellent collective performance, a goal by Islam Slimani and an unbeatable Bart Verbruggen, Sporting drew the longest straw.

The draw for the quarterfinals will take place Friday at 2 p.m. in Nyon, Switzerland. The possible opponents for the Mauves are AZ Alkmaar (NED), FC Basel (SWI); Fiorentina (ITA), KAA Gent (BEL), Lech Poznań (POL), OGC Nice (FRA) or West Ham United (ENG). As with all European matches, season ticket holders and MAUVE+ members get ticket sales priority for the home match.


Villarreal put a lot of pressure right from the start and took control of the match. That immediately produced two good chances, but both Alex Baena and José Luis Morales missed the frame. A counter-punch on the other side after fifteen minutes: Anders Dreyer tried, but his shot was too weak to really threaten Reina. Moments later it was all hands on deck for RSCA. Samu Chukwueze got the ball in the sixteen and took a scorching shot, but Zeno Debast had cleverly ran back and was able to turn his shot on the line with his head. It was the sign for Sporting to get more into the game, which it did. Villarreal began to make mistakes at the back, and those led to two chances. Unfortunately, Francis Amuzu and Benito Raman came up just short each time to finish them off. A few minutes before halftime, it was again Villarreal that stepped up the pressure, but Alex Baena and José Luis Morales were prevented from scoring by Bart Verbruggen and the crossbar. 0-0 at halftime, an excellent starting position against the 2021 Europa League winner and 2022 Champions League finalist.

In the second half, RSCA grew into the game and started playing its own game more. On a corner, it suddenly had a great chance when the ball got past two Villarreal players into the feet of Amir Murillo, but he was too surprised to decide and shot over. Villarreal replied with chances on the opposite side, but Gerard Moreno failed to score. Bart Verbruggen then conjured two great saves from his gloves on a shot by Jorge Cuenca and a rebound by Gerard Moreno who the whole stadium thought was going to score. The match became more balanced after that, and RSCA felt that something would be possible at the Estadio de la Céramica. On the hour, Islam Slimani and Majeed Ashimeru came between the lines for Benito Raman and Lior Refaelov. And the Algerian striker almost immediately unleashed his devils. After a quick counterattack over several stations, Amir Murillo managed to find the number 13 at the far post, who tapped the 0-1 against the nets much to the delight of the fans who had travelled to Spain. The tension was palpable in the minutes that followed, but an unbeatable Bart Verbruggen managed to keep the nets clean on several occasions. A strong collective drew the victory. RSC Anderlecht can now prepare for the quarterfinals of the UEFA Conference League.

RSC Anderlecht

Presented by Delta Investment Tracker

  • B. Verbruggen (GK)
  • A. Murillo
  • Z. Debast
  • J. Vertonghen ©
  • M. N'Diaye
  • A. Diawara
  • Y. Verschaeren
    (75' K. Arnstad)
  • L. Refaelov
    (63' M. Ashimeru)
  • A. Dreyer
  • B. Raman
    (63' I. Slimani)
  • F. Amuzu
    (87' M. Stroeykens)

Villarreal CF

Presented by Delta Investment Tracker

  • P. Reina
  • J. Foith
  • A. Mandi
  • J. Cuenca
  • A. Moreno
  • R. Terrats
    (59' G. Lo Celso)
  • D. Parejo
  • A. Baena
  • S. Chukwueze
  • G. Moreno ©
    (73' N. Jackson)
  • J. Morales
    (72' Y. Pino)

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