With yesterday’s good news that we had some players back who we weren’t expecting back, things were looking positive before the match. However, after some keystone cop defending and some terrible overall play, we found ourselves 2-0 down after just 29 minutes, fighting off wave after wave of Villarreal attacks and the tie looked dead.
Trigueros had pounced on a loose ball while our defenders stood by and watched him lash home a shot on just 5 minutes, and Raul Albiol headed home a corner to put the home side ahead and coasting before the match had even got to the half-hour mark.
We had our standard VAR disaster after Pepe was awarded a penalty for a trip, but VAR had (rightly) adjudged him to handle the ball before the trip, resulting in a free-kick the other way to frustrate us even further.
As the game wore on, Leno came to our rescue numerous times, but our nightmare evening was compounded as Arteta was preparing to substitute Dani Cabellos, the Spaniard was given a second yellow card and invited to leave the pitch.
This somehow seemed to make us look a lot better and on 73 mins, the lively Buyako Saka made the most of a trip in the area to win us a penalty, which Pepe dispatched to halve the deficit.
Villarreal’s Juan Foyth burst through as the home side threatened, but pulled up with Hamtwang, and was subbed off injured. Tottenham’s other link to the Europa League semi-final, Etienne Capoue was also red-carded for yet another awful challenge on Saka. The former Tottenham and Watford man sadly left on a stretcher, coming off worse after his horror challenge. Sara was fortunately ok but did make way for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who almost equalised, but saw his shot parried away for a corner.
Sadly, there was no equaliser, but the away goal means we go into next weeks home leg with a shred of hope of making the final – 1-0 to the Arsenal anyone?