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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

One of the most in-form players in Europe shines again as Villarreal book knockout round place

Named La Liga’s best player for October, Cedric Bakambu came off the bench and grabbed a brace for his side.

Image: Alter Photos

CEDRIC BAKAMBU CAME off the bench to outshine Astana duo of Junior Kabananga and Patrick Twumasi as his brace ensured Villarreal grab an away 3-2 in Thursday’s Uefa Europa League encounter.

The DR Congo striker delivered a superb 30-minute performance at the Astana Arena to seal the Yellow Marines’ passage to the next stage of the European club second-tier competition.

Compatriot, Kabananga got the curtain raiser for the hosts with a stunning left-footed shot – from outside the box – that sailed over Mariano Barbosa in the 22nd minute.

Shortly before the interval, Daniel Raba levelled matters for the Spanish visitors to end the first half 1-1.

Bakambu, recently named La Liga Best Player of the Month for October, was thrown into the mix for Pablo Fornals on the hour mark and the former Bursaspor attacker repaid Javi Calleja’s faith with a brace to seal the victory.

Five minutes after his introduction, the 26-year-old gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the tie. And in the 83rd minute, he secured victory for the Spanish top-flight outfit after striking past Nenad Eric.

With few minutes before the final whistle, Ghana’s Twumasi arrowed a shot – his fourth in five Europa League games – past Barbosa to set up a tense finish but Calleja’s men stood firm, thus, confirming their spot in the Europa League Round of 32 with 11 points from five games.

Kabananga and Twumasi were on parade for the entire duration of the tie and the former was cautioned in the dying moment of the tie.

The goals were Bakambu’s second and third in five appearances in the competition with his first coming in the reverse fixture of the tie at Estadio de la Cerámica on September 14.

The 26-year-old now has found the back of the net 11 times in 16 games across all competitions.

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