Liverpool v Villarreal: Match in Pictures
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Villarreal have hit back at Jason Cundy for his sharp-tongued rant about their Champions League semi-final performance against Liverpool with a social media post praising their supporters. Unai Emery’s side were resolute in the first half, but an own-goal and Sadio Mane’s strike minutes later saw them succumb to a conclusive defeat at Anfield.
After the La Liga outfit’s 2-0 first-leg defeat at Anfield, Cundy labelled them a ‘disgrace’ to the competition. The radio presenter was astonished by the ease of Liverpool’s victory as they placed one foot in next month’s Paris final against Real Madrid or Manchester City.
He told talkSPORT: “I don’t know what I’ve just watched – but Villarreal are a disgrace. That is a disgrace. UEFA must be watching that and thinking, ‘We are in big trouble’. If that’s what’s getting to the semi-final and facing English teams… Liverpool did not get out of second gear. It was shocking. Disgraceful. Liverpool are brilliant – but that was a disgrace to the Champions League.
“There are players who haven’t even broken a sweat in a Champions League semi-final,” Cundy added. “There’s only one team that can do anything to Liverpool right now and that’s Man City, maybe Chelsea in a one-off. They are streets ahead. Villarreal were beaten before the first whistle went. A disgraceful display!”
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In response, Villarreal took to Twitter with a video from the away end after full-time on Wednesday night. Seemingly in a direct hit-back at Cundy’s comments, the club captioned the post: “Try telling these fans yesterday was a disgrace.”
Liverpool were firmly the better side at Anfield, but many have disputed the talkSPORT figure’s scathing views about Villarreal’s performance. Emery set his team up to prevent a loss on Merseyside, and although his attempts were unsuccessful, there can be no shame in trying to stay well-positioned for the return leg at El Madrigal.
The Spanish side have followed up their shock Europa League triumph against Manchester United last season with a Champions League run to remember. They dumped Juventus out of the last 16 with a 4-1 aggregate win, sealed with a 3-0 second-leg victory in Turin.
Many had drawn up a dream semi-final showdown between Liverpool and Bayern, but Villarreal followed a 1-0 home win with a late goal at the Allianz Arena to knock out the German champions in the quarter-finals. They have more than earnt their status in the final four of European football’s showcase event.
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