SUPER EAGLES

Chukwueze bags an assist, Awaziem penalized as Villarreal win Conference League clash

Last season's Champions League semi-finalists showed their dominance, winning the first leg of their Conference League clash at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia.

Chukwueze bags an assist, Awaziem penalized as Villarreal win Conference League clash

Villarreal got a foot and a half in the group stage of the Conference League after beating Hajduk Split 4-2 in the first leg, practically sealing the pass in a match in which they dominated.

The six-goal thriller saw Jose Morales's brace for Villarreal, an own goal and Gerard Moreno score another, while Hajduk Split got on the scoresheet through an early goal by Stipe Biuk and a late one by Marco Fossati.

Super Eagles players Samuel Chukwueze and Chidozie Awaziem both lined up for either sides with the former setting up a goal for Villarreal's third of the night and the latter, picking up a yellow card.

Hajduk could not have imagined a better start to the game as Biuk scored the opener in the second minute.

However, they could not manage to keep that advantage for so long, as in the 14th minute, the experienced Jose Luis Morales scored to equalize after strolling along the right side of Hajduk's defence and sending a deflected shot at goal.

Just five minutes later, Villarreal got the breakthrough with an own goal by Marko Livaja who tried to clear the ball in front of Gerardo Moreno, but in the process put it past his goalkeeper for a 2-1.

Villarreal did not give up and looked for an increase in the advantage, and they got it in the 36th. Chukwueze set Morales up, and the Spaniard who had plenty of space put the ball past Lovre Kalinic for his second of the night.

The first half then ended with a fourth goal by Unai Emery's team Gerard Moreno summarized a quick counterattack to put his name on the scoresheet.

Villarreal were not as dangerous as in the second 45 minutes, and Hajduk punished that in the 85th minute.

Fossati converted a penalty kick which had been won by Nikola Kalinic to soften the defeat for the Croatian side.

While beating last year's Champions League semi-finalist by two or more points will be a very difficult task for Valdas Dambrauskas' team, they would have no choice but to do that when they take on Villarreal in next week's second leg.

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