Rossi rocket beats Espanyol
Giuseppe Rossi's stunning goal was enough to give Villarreal an impressive victory at in-form Espanyol tonight and rounded off a highly satisfactory week for the American-born forward.
Rossi was linked with a move away from Villarreal earlier this month, but signed a new deal this week to remain at El Madrigal until 2016. The former Manchester United striker - who turns 24 on Tuesday - declared himself delighted to have the opportunity to stay at a club he calls his "family" and on this showing, Villarreal will be very happy too.
Rossi raced clear in the penalty area and rifled home a ferocious left-footed drive from a seemingly impossible angle to give the visitors the lead moments before the interval. Espanyol keeper Carlos Kameni should probably not have allowed the Villarreal striker's effort to beat him at his near post - especially with so little to aim at - but the Cameroonian was left flat-footed by the Italy forward's venomous shot.
Espanyol had won all but one of their home matches in La Liga prior to this one and looked the better side in a lively first half until Rossi's timely intervention. Sergio Garcia, in for a rare start up front, shot straight at Diego Lopez with only the Villarreal keeper to beat and also struck the post with a low drive when he looked certain to score.
Rossi was the protagonist once more after the break, though, and was unlucky not to make it 2-0 when his rasping drive was pushed onto the bar by Kameni. But his first half effort proved enough and Villarreal - in third - are now just six points behind second-placed Real Madrid, who lost 1-0 at Osasuna earlier in the evening.
Espanyol stay fifth, but are now just two points ahead of sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao after 21 rounds of the Primera Division.