Villarreal back on track
After last week's disappointing defeat to Getafe, Villarreal got their La Liga campaign back on track with a 3-1 home win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.
The Yellow Submarine suffered only their third loss of the season last weekend, after going down to a last-minute goal against a Getafe side which finished the match with nine men. Tonight, however star trio Santi Cazorla, Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar scored a goal apiece to give Villarreal the morale-boosting win.
Cazorla opened the scoring in the 11th minute and although Mallorca equalised through Jonathan De Guzman, the home side took the spoils thanks to Rossi's 35th-minute penalty and Nilmar's strike at the start of the second half. The victory ensures Villarreal will finish 2010 in third place and improves their impressive home record under Juan Carlos Garrido to 19 wins from 22 games.
For mid-table Mallorca, the result means Michael Laudrup's men have now suffered three successive defeats. Villarreal did not take long to get their noses in front, and it was almost Ruben Cani who got the goal. He was put through on the edge of the box but his low show was saved by the outstretched foot of Dudu Aouate. However, Mallorca could not clear the danger and Borja Valero picked up the loose ball and crossed to the unmarked Cazorla at the far post to slot home.
The home side's lead lasted just 16 minutes before Mallorca drew level with a brilliant strike from De Guzman. Pierre Webo chipped a pass back to the edge of the area and De Guzman, showing great technique, allowed the ball to run across his body before firing a dipping shot over Diego Lopez and into the far corner of the net. It was a memorable finish from the former Feyenoord player, but it was not enough to earn his side anything from the game.
Rossi, who netted both goals as Villarreal beat Club Brugge 2-1 in the UEFA Europa League in midweek, put his side back in front with his 14th strike of the season in all competitions. Webo handled the ball in the area and Rossi stepped up to roll in the resulting spot-kick. Nilmar then sealed the win with an impressive finish of his own six minutes into the second period. The Brazil international charged onto a pass from Valero before dinking a superb chip over Aouate for his 10th league goal of the season.