Villarreal 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb (3-1 agg): Emery sets up Arsenal reunion

Villarreal 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb (3-1 agg): Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno ensure LaLiga side progress as Unai Emery sets up tantalising semi-final reunion with his former side Arsenal

  • Unai Emery has set up a reunion with former employers Arsenal in the next round
  • The Villarreal boss has a rich history in this tournament and is closing in on a final
  • Goals from Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer ensured safe passage to the semis 

Unai Emery will see plenty of familiar faces in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League after Villarreal set up a thrilling last-four meeting with Arsenal. 

Emery was axed by the north London side in 2019 and was replaced by Mikel Arteta, who guided Arsenal to the final four after a demolition of Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday.  

First-half strikes from Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno guided Villarreal into the Europa League semi-finals with 3-1 aggregate triumph. 

Gerard Moreno (left) and Paco Alcacer (right) struck to fire Villarreal through to the semi-finals

Unai Emery has a rich history in the Europa League and will take on former side Arsenal next

Villarreal raced into a two goal lead to make their first leg away victory count even greater

Villarreal dominated the game and almost took the lead after 25 minutes when forward Samuel Chukwueze rattled the post with a close-range volley.

They did not have to wait long to open the scoring, however, with Alcacer netting 10 minutes later. 

Chukwueze was initially flagged offside in the build-up, but the goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check.

Moreno doubled the hosts’ lead three minutes before the break after Alcacer’s effort had been parried by Dominik Livakovic in the Dinamo goal following a marauding run from centre back Raul Albiol to tee up the chance.

Dinamo Zagreb toiled after pulling a goal back but found it difficult to take control of the game

The visitors rallied after the break and Geronimo Rulli was forced into a couple of smart stops in the Villarreal goal while at the other end Chukwueze and Moreno spurned chances to ensure victory.

Mislav Orsic pulled one back for Zagreb 15 minutes from time, but far from setting up a nervy finale the visitors never threatened to get back into the tie as the Spaniards held firm.

Villarreal will face their coach Emery’s former club Arsenal in the last four after the English side overcame Slavia Prague.

The north London side ran riot in the Czech Republic with Alexandre Lacazette netting twice in a 4-0 win.  

There was disappointment in the Croatian side’s ranks at the end as they were eliminated


Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza (A Moreno 90), Chukwueze (Pena 90), Capoue, Parejo (Coquelin 84), Trigueros (Moi Gomez 63), G Moreno, Alcacer (Baena 90). 

Subs not used: Sergio Asenjo, Mario, Funes Mori, Bacca, Jaume, Pino, Nino.

Booked: Trigueros 

Goals: Alcacer, Moreno 

Dinamo Zagreb: Livakovic, Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine (Peric 82), Gvardiol, Ristovski (Stojanovic 62), Jakic, Ademi (Misic 82), Orsic, Ivanusec (Atiemwen 76), Majer (Franjic 62), Petkovic. 

Subs not used: Zagorac, Cabraja, Kastrati, Leovac, Tolic, Burton, Josipovic.

Goals: Orsic 

Booked: Jakic 

Referee: Danny Makkelie (Holland)

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