Magical comeback in Cartagena to reach the last 16 (1-5)
Magical comeback in Cartagena to reach the last 16 (1-5)

Villarreal put on a fantastic second half display at Cartagonova and move forward in the Copa del Rey

Villarreal overcame FC Cartagena (1-5) to book their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey. The Submarine came from behind in the second half with determination, forcefulness and good play thanks to goals from Álex Baena, Arnaut Danjuma, José Luis Morales, Samu Chukwueze and Étienne Capoue, after conceding a goal from Pablo Vázquez late in the first half.

Villarreal are very hopeful of competing well in the Copa del Rey. Quique Setién’s side travelled to Cartagena with the aim of confirming their place in the knockout competition. After winning their first two games against CD Guijuelo (1-2) and Valencia CF (2-1) after the break due to the World Cup in Qatar, the Submarine wanted to extend their good sporting dynamic against the team from Murcia.

The first warning came from the home side, who tested the resolve of Pepe Reina with a shot from Sangalli inside the area. The Submarine replied with a powerful header from Jorge Cuenca, which was saved by Marc Martínez, after the first quarter of an hour.

The game was very evenly matched at the midway point of the first half. The minutes ticked by at Cartagonova until the home side took the lead with a goal from Pablo Vázquez. From a corner kick, the centre-back connected well with David Ferreiro’s cross and sent the ball into the back of the net. The Submarine, like against Guijuelo and Valencia, had to come from behind again.

Villarreal started the second half like a real juggernaut. Right from the kick-off, Álex Baena showed for the umpteenth time his great form by scoring the equaliser. The midfielder finished off a fantastic cross from the left by Johan Mojica with great quality.

Just five minutes after the equaliser, Villarreal scored the second goal. Manu Trigueros slipped an excellent pass into space for Morales who, quickly and accurately, laid the ball off to Danjuma, who was in at the far post to beat Martínez.

Before the hour mark, Aïssa Mandi was awarded a penalty in the opposition’s penalty area. Morales took the responsibility for the shot, but the opposing goalkeeper guessed his intentions. However, the striker was first to the the rebound and made no mistake in the second instance. The Submarine converted the third goal.

Five minutes from time, on the counter-attack, Chukwueze scored the fourth goal of the game in front of a Cartagena side that was on the attack. The fifth and final goal of the match was scored by Capoue, who finished with the outside of his foot from a pinpoint cross by Alfonso Pedraza.

Villarreal will find out their next Copa del Rey opponents this Saturday, at 13.00, with the draw for the last 16 of the Copa del Rey. The tie will be played on 16th, 17th or 18th January.


FC Cartagena: Marc Martínez; Iván Calero, P. Alcalá, Pablo Vázquez, Datkovic; David Ferreiro (De Blasis, m. 57), Mikel Rico, Sangalli (Jairo, m. 57), D. Musto (Ortuño, m. 68); Jansson (Franchu, m. 79); Sadiku (D. Barro, m. 68).

Villarreal CF: Reina; Kiko F. (Foyth, m. 57), Mandi, J. Cuenca, J. Mojica (A. Pedraza, m. 57); Morlanes (Parejo, m. 68), M. Trigueros, Álex B. (Capoue, m. 63); A. J. Morales, Danjuma (Chukwueze, m. 68), N. Jackson.

Goals: 0-1. Min. 39: Pablo Vázquez. 1-1. Min. 49: Álex B. 1-2. Min. 56: Danjuma. 1-3. Min. 60: A. J. Morales. 1-4. Min. 85: Chukwueze. 1-5: Min. 91: Capoue.

Referee: Alejandro Hernández Hernández. Booked: Jansson, Musto, P. Alcalá, Mikel Rico (Cartagena); Kiko F., N. Jackson (Villarreal).

Matchday information: Game between FC Cartagena and Villarreal CF, corresponding to the 2022/23 Copa del Rey Round of 32, at Cartagonova. A minute’s silence was held for Pelé.