Villarreal defeated Hajduk Split 4-2 in the first-leg of their Europa Conference League qualifier.
José Luis Morales scored twice, with Gerard Moreno also on the scoresheet for the win.
Villarreal hosted Hajduk Split in the first home game at the Ciutat de València, where they will play as renovations are being done on Estadio de la Cerámica.
Villarreal coach Unai Emery said, “We talked about the importance of Europe, the place it gives you at all levels and also what it means to face a team with history, with a football tradition and with high-level players such as Hajduk.
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“Everything has happened. They have scored a goal for us, we have been able to remake ourselves and turn around. At the beginning of the second half we conceded more than we should have and then we had chances. We’ve made changes to find something else, but we haven’t made it. They with the 4-2 are seen with options in front of their fans and in their stadium. You have to go there to compete and play a game with a tight result.
“Morales’ performance has been very good. He has scored, he has worked and it has been his best match so far. This opens our eyes to be picky about him.
“We always set ourselves ambitious goals and to play to be better. It is not easy to surpass last year and less at European level. To improve in the Conference would be to reach the final, but first we have to pass this qualifier and go step by step.
“In LaLiga we can improve and we want to overcome the seventh place. We have motivation points to hold on to and today we started one in this Conference League qualifier.”