The vigilance of the League does not allow Villarreal joys in Europe. The tension of the day to day in a depressing season was reflected in the faces of the yellow staff during the trip to Lisbon, which received the Castellón expedition with a pleasant climate. Only the perennial sympathy of Santi Cazorla sketched a smile in the final seats of the charter flight, where the Asturian was located to play a game of cards with four hands. The other companions were engrossed with their electronic devices and Fernando Roig did not hide his concern either.
Villarreal faces the first leg of the round of 32 against Sporting de Portugal (21.00, Movistar + LC) trying to convince their team and the environment that there is no useful defeat, that a victory in the José Alvalade can be balsamic, a moral boost for a depressed team that does not know the victory since the last game of the group stage of the Europa League, against Spartak Moscow.
"All the victories reinforce. The match arrives at the best moment because it is the one who plays. We are going to compete and we have the illusion to keep going, "said the restituted Calleja, who for the duel in Lisbon dispensed with Miguelón, Bonera and Gerard, Moreno in addition to the sanctioned Jaume Costa. The Madrid coach will apply the rotations, so Javi Fuego points to the starting line-up. "We face the game with a lot of desire. It is a unique opportunity to continue growing ", says the Asturian midfielder.
Sporting de Portugal is a classic in Europe, the third Portuguese team for titles and heraldry. In the current championship occupies the fourth position, nine points away from the leader, the Oporto de Casillas.
Last season it was convulsive for Sporting, who lived an extra-sports storm caused largely by the eccentric ex-president Bruno Carvalho, which led to the departure last summer of important players like Rui Patricio, Gelson Martins or William Carvalho. Currently, the game from Verdiblanco, with a 4-3-3 system, gravitates around the talent of Bruno Fernandes, after returning this two years back to Portugal after his time at Udinese and Sampdoria. The reference in the attack is Bas Dost, the Dutch stalk that finishes off everything that they provide.
Against the Villarreal will not be present exvalencianists Mathieu and Nani, injured.