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Football double-Danjuma sends Villarreal into the Champions League round of 16

Champions League - Group F - Atalanta v Villarreal
Football – Champions League – Group F – Atalanta v Villarreal – Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy – December 9, 2021 Arnaut Danjuma of Villarreal celebrates scoring his third goal REUTERS / Alberto Lingria

December 9, 2021

BERGAMO, Italy (Reuters) -Villarreal became the last team to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League as Netherlands international Arnaut Danjuma’s brace helped them to a 3-2 win over Atalanta in the final relegation match. Group F on Thursday.

The game was due for Wednesday but was postponed due to the snow, and Villarreal wasted no time putting himself in the driver’s seat, with Danjuma racing to break the deadlock within three minutes.

Atalanta held the ball more in Bergamo and focused a lot of effort on goal, but their waste proved costly when Etienne Capoue made it 2-0 three minutes before the break.

The hosts know that only victory will get them to the bottom of the round of 16 in the group behind Manchester United, and come out in the second half in full-blown attacking mode.

At the other end, however, Danjuma appeared to put the result beyond all doubt in the 51st minute with a fine goal in the first leg, before substitute Ruslan Malinovskiy shot home to provide hope. hope for Atalanta in the 19th minute.

Duvan Zapata again netted Atalanta with a fine goal, but that wasn’t enough as Villarreal secured second place, four points ahead of the Italian side advancing in the Europa League.

“We started very badly and in these games it’s difficult when you go behind so early,” Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini told Amazon.

“The players put on a lot of good performances, but we missed a little bit tonight. When we tried to improve the game was gone. ”

Danjuma’s first goal came after Atalanta went too high to concede, with the Villarreal forward poking a hole through the feet of home keeper Juan Musso.

It was the fastest goal Atalanta had ever conceded in the Champions League, but it didn’t disrupt their flow.

Chances came and went for the home side while Capoue’s powerful strike and smart finish from Danjuma – his 10th goal of the season in all competitions – seemed to end the game like one. competition.

But Atalanta on this side was not lacking in spirit, and soon fought back. Malinovskiy’s hammer-like shot didn’t cause Villarreal to worry too much, but Zapata’s shot did and Luis Muriel narrowly missed the post.

However, the visitors held to a draw and their first Champions League campaign in a decade will move on to the knockout stages.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Huynh Nguyen

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