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Villarreal vs Hajduk Split betting tips: Europa Conference League Play-off Round First Leg preview, predictions and odds

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Match preview

Villarreal’s last two European adventures have been so memorable; will this be the start of another to savour?

Back in 2021, el Submarino Amarillo won major silverware for the very first time, beating Manchester United in the Europa League Final.

Then, last season, Unai Emery led his team to the Champions League semi-finals, overcoming Atalanta, Juventus and Bayern Munich, before falling to Liverpool.

However, having now finished seventh in back-to-back seasons, Villarreal will be La Liga’s first-ever Europa Conference League representatives.

On Saturday, they began the new season by hammering newly-promoted Real Valladolid 3-0.

Nicolas Jackson breaking the deadlock, before Álex Baena bagged a brace at Estadio José Zorrilla.

Visitors HNK Hajduk Split entered in the previous round, causing a bit of an upset by ousting Vitória de Guimarães.

The Croatian club won 3-1 at Stadion Poljud, meaning, despite going down 1-0 at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques last Wednesday, they snuck through.

Despite last failing to qualify for Europe in 2006, Hajduk Split have never not reached a UEFA group stage in 12 years.

Subsequently, they’ve fallen in the play-off round on four occasions, ousted by Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Slovan Liberec, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Everton.

Given the toughness of this draw, history could repeat itself for Valdas Dambrauskas’ team.

This first leg will take place at Estadi Ciutat de València, as Villarreal’s usual home, Estadio de la Cerámica, is currently undergoing renovations.

Even without usual home field advantage, the Yellow Submarine should cruise to victory.


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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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