Villarreal and Sociedad go through as Athletic pick up big three points – Europa League Round UpNovember 23, 2017
Villarreal secured their place in the Europa League Last 32 with an entertaining 3-2 victory at Astana.
The Yellow Submarine started well and Nicola Sansone saw his shot cleared off the line but it was the hosts who took the lead thanks to a wonder goal from Junior Kabananga.
Youngster Dani Caba pulled Villarreal level on 39 minutes with his first senior goal. He collected Carlos Bacca’s lofted pass before smashing the ball into the back of the net.
Cedric Bakambu came off the bench and slotted home Sansone’s pass with his first touch of the ball.
The DR Congo forward was through on goal again but saw his shot saved by Nenad Eric. He did however notch his second with seven minutes left rolling the ball into the corner.
Patrick Twumasi made it 3-2 late on when he finished after picking up a loose ball but Villarreal held on to claim their place in the knockout stages.
They host Maccabi Tel Aviv on Matchday six while Astana go to Slavia Prague with the hope of joining the La Liga side in the next round.
Real Sociedad also ensured qualification with a 1-0 win in Norway against Rosenborg.
A last minute goal from Mikel Oyarzabal enough to get the three points.
They host Zenit St Petersburg on the final day in a massive clash which will see the winner take top spot in the group. The Russians defeated Vardar Skopje 2-1 in the group’s other game of the night.
Vardar will play Rosenborg in Macedonia in a dead rubber on matchday six.
Athletic Bilbao boosted their chances of making the knockout stages with a 3-2 victory at the San Mames over Hertha Berlin who exit the competition.
The visitors started the better and opened the scoring after 26 minutes through Matthew Leckie who headed home from Maximilian Mittelstaedt’s cross.
Bilbao equalised from the spot after Inaki Williams was brought down by Sebastian Langkamp and Aritz Aduriz squeezed the ball home.
Hertha were ahead within a minute however as Davie Selke nodded home from close range from Valentino Lazaro’s cross.
Langkamp gave away another penalty this time for handball after 65 minutes and Aduriz again managed to force it past the keeper.
The home side continued to press and they grabbed the winner on 82 minutes when Williams finished off a slick counter attack to give them the three points.
Swedes Oestersunds beat Zorya in the other game in the group to go through to the knockout stages meaning Zorya versus Athletic on Matchday six will decide who joins Oestersunds in the next phase of the competition.