Super Eagles and Villarreal forward Samuel Chukwueze saw only thirty minutes of action, but that was enough for him, as he scored the vital third goal to help Villareal secure a 3-1 victory away at Real Sociedad.
The Yellow Submarines travelled to the Reale Arena to battle fellow top-four hopefuls Real Sociedad. Despite being five places below their opponents on the Laliga log, the Europa League Champions looked like the slight favourites going into that tie because they had the better form, winning their last three in all competitions.
The game started with Sociedad seeing most of the possession, trying to create chances and dissect the Villarreal defence.
The home side for rewarded for their pressure on the half-hour mark when Swedish Striker Alexander Isak weaved past the Villarreal defence before planting a well-placed shot beyond Geronimo Rulli in goal.
However, the Yellow Submarines did not waste time, as they found a decent reply to going a goal down after Gerard Moreno planted a well-placed header that beat Sociedad goalkeeper Matthew Ryan.
Nevertheless, Unai Emery’s lads did not give up in their desire to win as they went into the second half with more belief.
They heaped pressure on the home side, and just four minutes after the break, the White and Blues were reduced to ten men after a poor tackle their captain Mikel Oyarzabal landed him a red card.
From then on, Villarreal increased their tenacity, pressing the Real Sociedad side back. However, after playing eleven minutes without any meaningful penetration, Emery decided to tweak things up, introducing Chukwueze into the game in the 60th minute.
Just eight minutes after the Nigerian was subbed on, Moreno scored his second of the game, with his head again, to give Villarreal a 2-1 lead.
After the goal, Villarreal did not sit back, as they kept on pushing. And in the final minutes of stoppage time, Chukwueze secured the win after collecting a square pass from Moreno to slot in calmly to end the tie with a 3-1 scoreline.
The victory takes Villarreal to touching distance of the top four as they now sit in 10th, eight points behind 4th-placed Rayo Vallecano, but The Yellow Submarines also have a game in hand.