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Juventus crash out of Champions League after heavy home loss to Villarreal

Villarreal defeated Juventus 3-0 in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals with a 4-1 triumph on aggregate.

Gerard Moreno scored the game’s opening goal with a penalty on 78 minutes following Daniele Rugani’s foul on Francis Coquelin, which referee Szymon Marciniak awarded after consulting with the VAR.

Defender Pau Torres added a second five minutes from time as he stabbed home after Serge Aurier’s flick on from a corner before Arnaut Danjuma netted a stoppage-time penalty.

It was a game of few chances with Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli pulling off a couple of smart saves in the first half.

With the match seeming like it would go to extra-time, Rugani brought down Coquelin for what looked like a clear penalty and, after initially waving play on, Marciniak awarded the spot kick and Moreno squeezed it in despite Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny getting a hand to it.

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri reacted to going behind by throwing on Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi.

But just seven minutes later the game was up as Torres scored Villarreal’s second. Danjuma added gloss to the scoreline as he finished off from the spot following Matthijs de Ligt’s desperate handball after Juve were caught on the counterattack.

Defeat means Juve exit the competition at the round of 16 for the third consecutive season while Villarreal reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.

“I knew that people would talk about a failure in case of elimination, but that’s intellectual dishonesty,” Allegri angrily told reporters when questioned about Juve’s campaign.

“We are disappointed and we’ll make our assessments to improve the team. We do that every year. We also need to be realists. There are 10 teams in Europe superior to Juventus. It’s no shame, it’s a fact.”

Villarreal manager Unai Emery has also progressed from a tie in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time, having previously been eliminated in the last 16 in each of his three attempts — with Valencia in 2010-11 and PSG in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“We had a gameplan,” Emery said. “We knew there’d be tough moments but we looked after Gerard and wanted him to come on only when we knew it was right. Today he showed he’s really back. “Whoever we get next will be a top side, just like we faced today.”

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