Rossi penalty seals Villarreal win
Villarreal all but sealed a UEFA Champions League spot with a scrappy 1-0 victory over Real Zaragoza in La Liga.
Coach Juan Carlos Garrido had billed the match as his side's "most important game of the season" and, although the performance was far from convincing, Giuseppe Rossi's 71st-minute penalty ensured all three points. Struggling Zaragoza ended the game with ten men following the late sending-off of Ikechukwu Uche.
The win, which followed two straight defeats, moved the Yellow Submarine nine points clear of Athletic Bilbao in the race for fourth place with six games to go. It also lifted them to within six points of third-placed Valencia. At the other end of the table, Zaragoza remained third bottom.
Zaragoza were the first to threaten when Said Boutahar's shot over the bar in the fifth minute. At the other end visiting goalkeeper Antonio Doblas blocked Rossi's close-range effort, while his opposite number Diego Lopez parried Uche's right-footed attempt.
Mateo Musacchio fired over following a Rossi corner and the Italy striker then had a another shot blocked by Doblas, who also saved Santi Cazorla's follow-up as the hosts turned up the pressure.
Uche continued to look lively for Zaragoza and tested Lopez again five minutes after the break with a shot from the right channel. However, Villarreal got the break they were looking for in the 70th minute when Leonardo Ponzio fouled Rossi, who slotted the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner.
Cazorla had a chance to make the points safe for Villarreal two minutes from time, but Doblas saved his shot from inside the area. There was no comeback from Zaragoza, though, and the game ended on a sour note for the visitors as Uche picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time.