The decisive Atalanta-Villarreal, corresponding to the last day of the Champions League and with the last eighth place at stake, was postponed to this Thursday (at 7:00 p.m.) because of the heavy snowfall this Thursday in Bergamo. The Europa League champion and Gian Piero Gasperini’s team will fight, a day late, for that pending position in the knockout drum.
The Manchester United finished first in group F, with 11 points (they closed the league with a 1-1 this Wednesday against Young Boys, who will not play the Europa League). Villarreal has 7 and Atalanta, 6.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s team needs to win, while one point is enough for the Europa League champion, led by Unai Emery, to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the third time.
In the league, Villarreal has only achieved one victory in the last 8 games. Instead, Atalanta has 5 consecutive wins in Serie A.
At 7:30 p.m. the concern began this Wednesday about whether Atalanta-Villarreal could be played. Finally Anthony Taylor, the English referee in charge of refereeing the match, postponed it to this Thursday after meeting with both clubs and with the UEFA delegate. “It was reckless to play,” said Fernando Roig, president of Villarreal.
Atalanta and Villarreal did not agree on the time. The Italians wanted the game to be played as late as possible for their fans to come. Villarreal, early to return home. After 11 pm the announcement arrived: it will be played at 7:00 p.m.
In the UEFA Cup, Villarreal already experienced a postponement due to the snow: in the round of 16 against Steaua in Bucharest on March 10, 2005. The match was played on the 16th (0-0). In the return, Villarreal won 2-0.
Gewiss Stadium, 19.00 (MLC)
Atalanta: Musso; Toloi, Demiral, Palomino; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Maehle; Pessina, Ilicic and Duván Zapata
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini
Villarreal: Rulli; Foyth, Raúl Albiol, Pau Torres, Estupiñán; Moi Gómez, Capoue, Parejo, Alberto Moreno; Gerard Moreno and Danjuma.
Coach: Unai Emery
Referee: Anthony Taylor (England)