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Apr 15, 2021 at 8pm UK
Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb
Alcacer (36'), Moreno (43')
Trigueros (60')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Orsic (74')
Jakic (40')

Preview: Villarreal vs. Dinamo Zagreb - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Villarreal vs. Dinamo Zagreb - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Villarreal and Dinamo Zagreb, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Villarreal have a 1-0 lead over Dinamo Zagreb heading into the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash on Thursday evening.

Gerard Moreno's penalty just before half time proved the difference in last week's reverse fixture, but Dinamo have 90 minutes to respond at Estadio de la Ceramica.

Match preview

Villarreal will feel that their victory in Croatia was deserved, but it may have been a different story had Mislav Orsic's early goal not be ruled out for offside in the build-up.

Gerard continued his fine form by tucking away from the penalty spot after his cross was handled by Kevin Theophile-Catherine inside the box.

The difference between the sides ultimately told over the first leg, but Unai Emery will know that his side still have a lot of work to do to see the job through.

That victory at Stadion Maksimir was Villarreal's sixth in a row in all competitions, but they were beaten 2-1 by Osasuna in La Liga on Sunday.

In the Europa League, meanwhile, the Yellow Submarine have won seven games in a row - keeping a clean sheet in six of those - and are without defeat in 11.

It goes without saying, then, that Dinamo have a huge task on their hands if they are to advance through.

However, the Croatian champions were two goals down heading into the second leg of their last-16 match with Tottenham Hotspur and progressed 3-2 on aggregate in a dramatic tie.

Indeed, Zagreb have not lost both legs of a two-legged knockout tie in the UEFA Cup/Europa League since the 2006-07 first round versus French outfit Auxerre.

There is one statistic that works against the visitors, though - only once previously in Europa League history has a Spanish side been eliminated after winning the first leg away from home, with Real Betis being defeated by Sevilla seven years ago.

Dinamo, who are now under the management of Damir Krznar after Zoran Mamic was given a jail sentence, saw off neighbours Lokomotiva Zagreb 2-0 in the league on Sunday and will need to carry that momentum into this huge game.

Villarreal Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Dinamo Zagreb Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Dinamo Zagreb form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Zagreb were dealt a blow ahead of the first leg with the news that Bruno Petkovic was not fit to start the match, but the striker came on for the final 30 minutes.

Assuming Petkovic is over his injury problem, Krznar will surely start the Croatia international in place of Mario Gavranovic.

Orsic scored a hat-trick against Tottenham in the famous turnaround last month, while Arijan Ademi is another who has caught the eye during this run to the quarters.

As for the home side, their loss to Osasuna can be put down to changes being made to the starting lineup with this second leg in mind.

Gerard only played 45 minutes, while the likes of Manu Trigueros, Samuel Chukwueze, Alfonso Pedraza, Etienne Capoue and Pau Torres also did not play a full part.

Each of those players is in contention to return to the XI here, with Vicente Iborra and Pervis Estupinan the only confirmed absentees for Villarreal.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Chukwueze, Gerard, Bacca

Dinamo Zagreb possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Ristovski, Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine, Gvardiol; Majer, Ademi, Jakic; Ivanusec, Petkovic, Orsic

We say: Villarreal 1-0 Dinamo Zagreb (2-0 on aggregate)

Dinamo Zagreb know how to pull off a shock result in Europe, as Tottenham know only too well.

However, the visitors have lost each of their last six games against Spanish opposition, while Villarreal have an incredible record in Europe this term, so we are backing Emery's men to get the job done.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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