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Champions League: Villarreal beat Atalanta

Villarreal became the last team to make it to the knockout stage of the Champions League football tournament on Thursday but Leicester failed to advance to the Europa League. Villarreal beat Atalanta 3-2 (match score) in order to book their seat in the Champions League last 16. The football match could not take place on Wednesday due to snowfall in northern Italy.

Spanish side Villarreal only needed a draw to advance to Group F as runners-up but two goals from Arnaut Danjuma gave them a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute. Atalanta tried to make a comeback with goals from Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinowskyi but that only narrowed the margin of defeat.

With just three minutes from the starting whistle, Arnaut Danjuma opened the scoring for Villarreal and Etienne Capoue added to the lead in the 42nd minute. Both the teams entered the second half with 2-0 on the scoreboard as Atalanta failed to find the net before the break. 

Arnaut advanced the lead for Villarreal in the 51st minute with his second goal of the night. Atalanta didn’t lose hope here and responded with a goal in the 71st minute from Ruslan Malinowskyi. With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Duvan Zapata scored another goal for his team yet they failed to win or share goals with their rival side. 

Atalanta finished third in the group and will have to play in the playoffs to make it to the last 16 of the Europa League. Villarreal last won the Europa League in 2020 beating Manchester United. Leicester needed a win against Napoli to advance to the Europa League but their team lost 3–2. Spartak Moscow topped Group C with a 1–0 victory over Legia Warsaw.

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