Guayre guides Villarreal to victory

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Villarreal beat Lille 1-0 to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage as group winner.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:47 IST
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Substitute Antonio Guayre scored in the 67th minute on Wednesday and Villarreal beat Lille 1-0 to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage as group winner. Guayre raced onto a through ball by another substitute, Hector Font, rounded advancing Lille goalkeeper Tony Sylva and slid the ball into the empty net. Villarreal, which is in its first Champions League campaign, finished Group D with 10 points, while Lille ended in third place with six points qualified for the UEFA Cup. Benfica, which downed Manchester United 2-1 in the other group match, finished runner-up with eight points. United was last with six. "It was a difficult game. We were nervous in the first half but we improved after halftime. Guayre's goal calmed us down. We did our job,'' Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini said. Lille captain Stephane Dumont came close with a long-range shot which flew just wide of Sebastian Viera's right post immediately after the kickoff. Neither goalkeeper was troubled for the rest of the first half, although Lille striker Peter Odemwingie blazed an opportunity over the bar in the 45th minute and moments later Font did likewise. The second half began in a similar vein, but the game improved around the hour mark. Villarreal playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme's corner almost slipped past Sylva in the 57th minute, while the French team's midfielder Jean Makoun shot over five minutes later. Guayre's goal forced Lille to attack and it came close twice before the final whistle. Viera parried a shot by substitute Kevin Mirallas from Gregory Tafforeau's low cross in the 77th minute and Dumont came even closer to equalizing when he fired onto the bar in the 81st. (AP)