Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze was one of the main actors as Spanish side Villarreal took one step closer to the knockout stages of the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League season.
Morales outshines Chukwueze with 12-minute hat-trick in Villarreal's demolition of Austria Wien
Chukwueze had an excellent game before Morales stole the show in the second half with three goals
Villarreal welcomed bottom-placed Austria Wien to the Estadio de la Ceramica confident of picking a third consecutive victory in Group C of the Europa League.
A 12-minute hat-trick from second-half substitute Jose Luis Morales followed the first-half assist from Chukwueze as Unai Emery's men kept their 100% record intact.
Jose Luis Morales' hat-trick downs Austria Wien
Villarreal started with a 4-4-2 formation with Super Eagles star Chukwueze detailed to man the wings as expected against an Austria Wien side with only one (1) point from two games.
It did not take long for Villarreal to pry open the Wien defence, with Chukwueze and his opposite winger Alejandro Baena linking up to give Villarreal the lead in the 18th minute off a Chukwueze assist.
Baena turned provider in the 43rd minute as the 21-year-old Spanish midfielder fed Arnaut Danjuma the ball to double Villarreal's lead.
Emery made three changes at the start of the second half with Francis Coquelin, Nicolas Jackson, and Baena all departing for Etienne Capoue, Jose Luis Morales, and Giovani Lo Celso respectively.
Morales would make the most use of his time on the pitch as the 35-year-old forward kicked off his hat-trick run with a well-taken goal in the 76th minute.
Morales would go on to add to his tally in the 80th minute and the 88th minute to ensure Villarreal finished with a very comfortable victory.
Chukwueze stats vs. Austria Wien
Chukwueze's assist on the night was the first time he was directly involved in a goal for Villarreal since he scored one and assisted another in a 4-3 victory over Lech Poznan early in September.
The Super Eagles attacker had two (2) key passes, one (1) cross, and one (1) long ball all of which were successful. He also attempted seven (7) dribbles and completed four (4).
Chukwueze had one (1) shot on target, one (1) shot off target and one (1) missed chance while winning seven (7) of the 11 duels he attempted and drawing fouls twice from the Wien defence before being substituted in the 65th minute for Dani Parejo.
Villarreal will be in action again on Sunday, October 9 when they visit the Reale Arena to take on Real Sociedad in the Spanish La Liga.