Villarreal dream of Europa League miracle

Seville: Reigning Europa League champions Sevilla will be looking to book their place in the quarterfinals of the competition when they entertain Villarreal in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium here on Thursday night.

Unai Emery's side will defend a 3-1 lead from first leg when Emery won the tactical battle over his opposite number Marcelino Garcia Toral, himself a former Sevilla boss, as Villarreal expected Sevilla to take a cautious approach, Emery sent his side on the attack and was rewarded with an opening goal within the first 15 seconds, reports Xinhua.

It was 2-0 by halftime and virtually game over. Sevilla's first leg win means Villarreal have to score three times on Thursday in order to qualify, although Jonathan dos Santos is not ruling out a miracle.

"It's gone through our heads that we can do it. Fans dream about miracles happening and so do the players," admitted the midfielder, although he knew it would be "complicated".

"I am certain we are going to have some chances to score. The key factor is to take those chances and be sure that we don't make any errors in defence. We know they are a great side and the reigning champions but we are travelling with the hope that we can do it."

Sevilla are in a rich vein of form and as well as being favourites for the last eight, they are currently fifth in La Liga, challenging Atletico Madrid and Valencia for third and fourth place.

With that in mind, Emery may make rotations in attack but will retain the counter-attacking style of his side, knowing that as the game progresses, Villarreal will have to leave more and more spaces for players such as Kevin Gamero, Carlos Bacca and Vitolo to exploit.

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