Under a sky of blue and field of green, Villarreal – affectionately known as the “Yellow Submarine” due to its luminescent yellow kit – sunk Bayern Munich to reach the semifinals of the Champions League.
An 88th minute equalizer from Samuel Chukwueze following a fluid counterattack that had begun at the edge of Villarreal’s penalty box ensured that the night ended in a 1-1 draw and sent Unai Emery’s side through to the semifinals 2-1 on aggregate.
Villarreal entered the second leg with a slender 1-0 lead over the six-time Champions League winner, courtesy of an Arnaut Danjuma goal at their home ground, the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Impotent for much of the first half of the second leg, it wasn’t until the 28th minute that Bayern mustered a shot on target, but it was easily saved by the Villarreal goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli.
Both of Villarreal’s best chances in the first half arrived following counterattacks, as it soaked up pressure from Bayern.
Then, early in the second half, Bayern finally broke through the Spanish side’s steadfast defense when Robert Lewandowski scored his 13th Champions League goal of the campaign to equalize the tie on aggregate.
It seemed that Bayern would pull ahead in front of its home crowd afterward given its dominance, but every shot on goal was wayward.
Bayern’s inaccuracy spanned both legs in which it had 45 shots and scored only once, while Villarreal converted both of its two efforts on target.
An eerie silence descended on the Allianz Arena for the last few minutes of the tie following Chukwueze’s goal, broken only by the delirious celebrations of the Villarreal squad after the final whistle.
“It’s an extraordinary feeling, it was not easy for us. We are a small club, from a village, like that of Asterix and Obelix,” said Emery. It will be the first Champions League semifinals for Emery – who has won four Europa League titles as a manager – while Villarreal has only reached this stage of the Champions League once before in 2005/06.
The Yellow Submarine is flying high in Europe’s top club competition after ending Juventus’ run in the round-of-16 and now Bayern Munich’s hopes of a seventh Champions League. The Spanish club will now face either Liverpool or Benfica in the semifinals.