Celtic, Sevilla and Basle qualify for Europa League last-32

Bakambu shines again as Villarreal sail through

14/04/2016

Villarreal eased into the semifinals of the Europa League with a 4-2 second-leg victory over Sparta Prague.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg in Spain, Villarreal put the tie to bed with three goals in the first half, and a late comeback from the Czechs was too little, too late.

Cedric Bakambu scored his third of the tie in the fifth minute before two goals in three minutes at the end of the half from Samuel Castillejo and Bruno Soriano.

Bakambu then netted again in the 49th minute but Sparta kept fighting and had the consolation of goals from Borek Dockal and Ladislav Krejci.

Villarreal are through to a European semifinal for the fourth time and will bid to make their first final.

Sparta knew all about the danger of Bakambu after his two goals in the first leg but he had already had a sight of goal before running onto Manu Trigueros' perfect through ball, cutting across Lukas Marecek and finishing coolly from 20 yards.

The Czech side were looking to maintain an unbeaten home record in Europe this season and they responded well, with Dockal looking particularly dangerous.

They came very close to an equaliser in the 40th minute when Kehinde Fatai set up Krejci but his first-time shot went just the wrong side of the post.

It was to prove an expensive miss as, three minutes later, Sparta failed to deal with a cross and Castillejo controlled the ball on his chest before volleying into the corner from 15 yards.

David Bicik prevented Castillejo from adding another with a decent block but, as the half entered injury time, from the resulting corner Soriano's header hit Sparta captain David Lafata and wrong-footed the keeper.

A miserable evening for the Czechs got worse only four minutes into the second half, this time Denis Suarez's ball from the right found its way to Bakambu in space and he stabbed the ball inside the post.

The scoreline was harsh on Sparta and the home fans at least had a goal to cheer in the 65th minute as Dockal drilled an excellent shot from outside the area into the far corner.

And six minutes later the hosts scored again, this time Lukas Julis setting up Krejci.

Sparta kept pushing and would have had a third but for a fine save from Areola, pushing Radoslav Kovac's dipping shot over the bar.

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