Thursday, 8 April 2021

Villarreal Tops Dinamo in Europa League Quarterfinal First Leg in Zagreb

April 8, 2021 - Villarreal tops Dinamo in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals in Zagreb (1:0).

After sensationally knocking out Tottenham in the last 16, Dinamo met Villarreal for the first quarterfinal match of the Europa League at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Thursday. 

However, Dinamo could not count on all of the stars that brought them success in the last round. Coach Damir Krznar announced before the match that Joško Gvardiol and attackers Bruno Petković and Mario Gavranović were injured.


Dinamo: Livaković - Ristovski, Theophile, Lauritsen, Gvardiol - Ademi, Jakić, Ivanušec, Majer, Oršić - Atiemwen

Villarreal: Rulli - Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza - Capoue, Dani Parejo, Trigueros - Gerard Moreno, Chukwueze, Bacca


Villarreal had the first attempt of the match but Livakovic saved nearing the 7th minute. And it didn't take long for Dinamo to be dangerous, too. A Majer shot was difficult for the Villarreal keeper in the 10th minute, resulting in a corner. Atiemwen shot near post in the next play.

Villarreal had a few uneasy attacks in the 10 minutes that followed, but Livakovic was solid to keep the net clean for the Zagreb club.

An incredible play between Orsic and Atiemwen resulted in an offside goal in the 25th minute. Orsic had a Tottenham-style chance in the 33rrd but hit over the goal. Dinamo was certainly pressing Villarreal's defense.

Unfortunately, just a few minutes before halftime, the referee awarded Villarreal a penalty after Theophile's handball in the box. Moreno scored for the Spanish club to lead 0:1 at the half. 

Atiemwen threatened Villarreal's goal to start the second half, while a Gvardiol attempt 10 minutes late was saved.

Coach Krznar decided to risk Bruno Petkovic who was subbed on for Atiemwen in the 60th minute. Kastrati also replaced Jakic to boost the offense. Petkovic found Ristovski in the 68th minute but his shot was blocked.

Dinamo used its third substitution in the 71st minute - Leovac entered instead of Gvardiol.

In the 82nd minute, Dinamo made a double substitution - Majer and Oršić came out for Franjić and Tolić.

Dinamo was lucky Villarreal didn't increase their lead in the final minutes of the match as their backline remained solid. The match ended 0:1 for the Spanish side. 

Dinamo will visit Villarreal next Thursday in Spain at the same time. 

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Friday, 19 March 2021

Europa League Draw: Dinamo Against Villarreal in Quarterfinal!

March 19, 2021 - The Europa League draw on Friday revealed that it will be Dinamo against Villarreal in the quarterfinal!

The Europa League quarterfinal draw was held in Nyon on Friday afternoon. Croatian champion Dinamo is among the eight clubs that will compete in the quarterfinals. 

Arsenal, Manchester United, Roma, Granada, Villarreal, Slavia Prague, and Ajax also reached the quarterfinals. There were no restrictions in the quarterfinals and all clubs could play each other. The pairs were drawn by former Arsenal and City player Gael Clichy.

After the draw for the quarterfinals, a draw for the semifinals was held.

Quarterfinal draw: 

Granada - Manchester United

Arsenal - Slavia

Ajax - Roma

Dinamo - Villarreal

Semifinal draw:

Granada / Manchester United - Ajax / Roma

DINAMO / Villarreal - Arsenal / Slavia

If Dinamo passes Villarreal, they will play with the better team from the clash between Arsenal and Slavia in the semis. The Croatian champion was lucky in the draw because they avoided any Premier League sides in the quarterfinals, but also the mighty Ajax.

Dinamo will thus play against the seventh-placed team of the Spanish championship, which isn't having the greater season. Villarreal knocked out Dynamo Kyiv (4:0) and Red Bull Salzburg (4:1) on the way to the quarterfinals.

According to Transfermarkt, Villarreal is worth 250 million euros and the most expensive player is stopper Pau Torres (50 million euros). The biggest stars are Spanish strikers Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer, and last year the great midfielder Dani Parejo from Valencia arrived.

Dinamo and Villarreal played 10 years ago in the group stage of the same competition. Dinamo won 2:0 in the first round at Maksimir and lost 0:3 in the return match in Spain.

The first quarterfinal matches are on April 8, and the return matches on April 15, while the semifinals are played on April 29 and May 6. Dinamo will host the first match in the quarterfinal and in the eventual semifinal.

The Europa League final is on May 26 in Gdansk. The winner Europa League winner will win a direct place in the group stage of the Champions League next season.


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