Thursday, 6 January 2011

Match Report Villarreal 4 Valencia 2

FT:Villarreal 4 (Cazorla 47, Rossi 50 & 90+3, Marco Ruben 63) – Valencia 2 (Banega 5, Soldado 23)

Villarreal produced a stunning second-half fightback to defeat local rivals Valencia 4-2 and qualify for the Copa Del Rey quarter-finals.

A brace from Italian international Guiseppe Rossi allied to goals from Marco Ruben and Santi Cazorla saw the hosts overcome a two goal half-time deficit.

Both managers signalled their intent from the start by fielding strong sides. Villarreal making only the one alteration from the 2-0 victory over Almeria on Monday. Valencia manager, Unai Emery, meanwhile persisted with his usual rotation policy, making four changes.

However, that one change to the Villarreal line-up, Juan Carlos starting in goal ahead of Diego Lopez, cost the hosts the opening goal on five minutes. Ever Banega, also restored to the Valencia starting eleven, struck the ball fiercely from 25 yards but the keeper will have been disappointed in only succeeding to palm the ball into the net.

The early goal was the best possible outcome for the neutral, forcing Villarreal onto the front foot, needing two goals following the 0-0 draw in the first leg, in what became an exciting end-to-end encounter.

Yet, in contrast to many of Villarreal’s home games this season their midfield four struggled to keep possession in the first-half, allowing Valencia to counter-attack with ease. Juan Mata and Jaoquin were looking particularly dangerous and both could have added to the visitors lead before the second goal did eventually arrive.

Roberto Soldado, who had also previously gone close two occasions, beautifully controlling Maduro’s cross-field pass before flicking the ball beyond Juan Carlos with the outside of his right foot.

However, a new Villarreal appeared after the break, determined to protect their unbeaten home record this season, and within five minutes they were back on level terms. Firstly, Rossi crossed from the left edge of the 18-yard box for the late-arriving Cazorla to tap home and then, after Stankevicius had felled Marco Ruben, the Italian coolly converted from the penalty spot.

And the hosts were ahead in the game and the tie 15 minutes later with a move that epitomised the change in the pattern of play in the second period. Cani and Cazorla tearing the Valencia backline to shreds with a wonderful one-two before the former squared for Marco Ruben to fire into an empty goal.

By this point the visitors appeared shell-shocked - unable to recover the control they had enjoyed in the first period. In particular, once Valencia fell behind their dependence on the counter-attack was badly exposed with even Banega and Mata unable to break down the Villarreal defence.

Rossi put Los Che out of their misery in stoppage time with a fourth goal. Played through by Joan Oriol, Rossi rounded the keeper before steadying himself to slot home.

The yellow submarine now move on to Sunday’s clash between second and third at the Bernabeu with a massive spring in their step.

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