Spanish side Villarreal had a huge mountain to climb on Thursday night as they tried to overcome a 3-1 deficit away in the all La Liga tie away at Sevilla. Former Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona hopeful, Giovani dos Santos, would score for the away side but it would not be enough on the night. Sevilla would run out 2-1 winners, 5-2 on aggregate, with former Queens Park Rangers midfielder Stephane M’Bia outstanding for the home side.
The game was level at 0-0 when the teams went off for the half-time break and Villarreal made the move to bring Giovani off the bench to try and spark a comeback. However, before he could make an impact, Sevilla took the lead.
The Yellow Submarine tried to play the offside trap, but Sevilla broke through and Vicente Iborra would be left with a tap-in. At 4-1 up the tie was over, but it didn’t dampen Villarreal’s spirit.
Just four minutes later they won a free-kick on the edge of the box and despite aiming his kick to the corner Sergio Rico should have been covering, Giovani’s powerful effort left-foot effort found the back of the net.
Rico got a hand to it, the shot was too much for him to handle, although the ‘keeper should have done much better. With 17 minutes left, the away side needed to score twice to send the game to extra-time, but that hope would last four minutes.
Centre-back Eric Bailly would see red for his second yellow, followed six minutes later by Sevilla substitute Denis Suarez heading in unmarked from Benoit Tremoulinas corner and it was game over for the hopeful visitors.
M’Bia was excellent on the night, protecting the Sevilla back-line, he almost nearly scored with a header, but after the game he was pleased with the performance:
"It was a really tough game tonight because Villarreal are a very good team," he told UEFA.com. "But we managed to score two good goals and tactically we did exactly what the coach asked of us."
The Frenchman’s contract is up in the summer and asked about his future with the Spanish club: "I'm just enjoying the moment. I'm very happy here and it's a great place to live. But I'm a competitor and I want to wait until the end of the season. Then we'll see."