VILLARREAL, Spain — Villarreal stunned six times European Cup winner Bayern Munich with a deserved 1-0 win after creating a hatful of chances in a frantic Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.
In the end, Nigerian-born Dutch forward Arnaut Danjuma’s eighth minute strike gave Unai Emery’s side a slender lead for the second leg at the Allianz Arena in Munich next Tuesday.
Villarreal took the game to Bayern and should probably have won by a larger margin given their clear opportunities.
The Europa League holders suffocated Julian Nagelsmann’s team, who struggled to find their touch in the final third, and were a constant menace to keeper Manuel Neuer on the counter.
Villarreal had a Francis Coquelin effort chalked off by VAR for offside while Gerard Moreno almost scored twice — first with a long-range strike that hit the post and later trying to lob Neuer with an effort from inside his own half that went wide.
Danjuma and Alfonso Pedraza wasted two clear chances in the last few minutes, missing the target from inside the area.
“Our team is very hungry and humble,” Man-of-the-Match Giovani Lo Celso told Movistar Plus. “But we faced one of the best teams in the world and we go out with the sensation that we should have scored several more goals.
“We knew that we needed to shorten the field for them — they are a team that can’t have spaces to work the ball. We played our game, we are a team that always try to be the protagonist and we had a lot of opportunities to win by a bigger margin.”
Villarreal coach Unai Emery has won a record four Europa League titles — three with Sevilla — and his current side look to have inherited his DNA and adapted it to the Champions League in their efforts to compete toe-to-toe with the leading clubs.
They eliminated Juventus in the last 16 and have now shocked Bayern, who was unbeaten in this year’s competition and tasted their first Champions League defeat away from home since 2017.
The buildup to Villarreal’s winner started with Moreno, who is the heart and soul of the Yellow Submarine.
He received the ball close to the right touchline and played it through to Lo Celso whose low cross was struck first time by Dani Parejo. Neuer looked to have it covered but Danjuma got there first and stroked the ball home from close range.
“We know that it will be a completely different game in Germany,” captain Parejo told reporters.
“We had at least five opportunities to score, they didn’t create a single one. That says a lot about what we are capable of. So we will go there and compete with the same passion.” — Reuters