Relief for Fran Escriba as Villarreal edge through

08 December 2016 08:53

Villarreal coach Fran Escriba admitted his relief after his side claimed a place in the Europa League last 32 with a nervy 2-1 win over 10-man Steaua Bucharest.

Manu Trigueros' sublime late goal secured victory but the strike actually set up a frantic finish as Steaua, for whom 1-1 was no good, could actually have progressed from Group D with a 2-2 draw.

Had Bojan Golubovic scored from a chance deep into injury time it would have been the Romanians, and not Villarreal, going through.

Steaua had kept themselves in the game with a Vlad Achim equaliser after Nicola Sansone opened the scoring.

Escriba said on the club's website, "The main thing was to get through the round and we have achieved it. We are satisfied with the result but not for having suffered so much.

"I am proud of the players. I know they have left everything on the pitch.

"We played a good first half and should have gone into the break 2-0 up. In the second half they scored early, which made us nervous.

"We weren't efficient and that cost us. We were making opportunities but not getting them on target.

"We should have had an easier qualification but we have arrived at Christmas still alive in Europe, with the cup still on course and in a good position in the league."

Source: PA

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