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Villarreal keep the hope of European football alive (3-0)
Villarreal keep the hope of European football alive (3-0)

The Submarine defeat Rayo and stay in the fight for a place in Europe next season

Villarreal do not want to drop out of the fight for Europe. They keep on climbing. However hard the journey may be. The Yellows thrashed Rayo Vallecano (3-0) and picked up an important win at La Cerámica that keeps them in the fight for the continental places. Alex Baena and Alex Sorloth gave a recital of football. They understand each other and they showed it on the pitch. A couple of assists and a couple of goals they took home on an afternoon when their numbers could have been much more scandalous. Especially as Baena’s pass on the first goal did not count as an assist and Sorloth had two more goals disallowed for offside.

The Submarine came into the game against the side from Vallecas after an important win away from La Ceramica against UD Almeria (1-2) in the last minute thanks to a goal from Alex Sorloth. The victory on Andalusian soil allowed the Submarine to hold on to a complicated, but not impossible fight for the European places.

In order to continue pursuing that goal, the Submarine had to win again. This time at home, where their numbers have not been as good as on the road.

Marcelino’s side came into the game with energy, making their home advantage count. In the seventh minute, Guedes could have put the Yellows ahead with a header that went wide, preceded by a lovely individual move by Ilias Akhomach down the right.

Ten minutes later, ‘the Alexes’ gave Villarreal their first goal. Sorloth opened the scoring with a left-footed cross after taking advantage of a superb assist from Baena. It was the Norwegian’s 16th goal in LALIGA and a new assist for the midfielder in the league (although officially it will not appear in the records because it was touched by a Rayo defender).

With the confidence that the goal gave them, the Submarine continued to attack. They searched for their opponents’ goal and found the second goal. Although the referee disallowed it for a millimetre offside. Sorloth sent home Dimitrievski’s rebound from a shot by Ilias Akhomach from the right, but the Moroccan was just offside in the build-up.

Although they deserved more, Villarreal went into the break with a narrow lead over Rayo Vallecano. And with plenty to fight for in the second half to consolidate the win.

They did not let up at the start of the second half, in which Marcelino’s team continued to dominate the game. In the 52nd minute, Sorloth even had another goal disallowed for offside. The second of the afternoon at La Cerámica.

From then on, the game opened up a little more. What had been a home monologue became an exchange of counter-attacks, with both teams attacking the space. Villarreal to get back on the scoreboard and Rayo to equalise in a game that was still wide open.

In the 68th minute, Alberto Moreno tried his luck with a hard shot that Dimitrievski saved with a textbook save, sending the ball out for a corner. From the same corner kick, Mosquera rose higher than anyone else to send Álex Baena’s cross into the net. An assist that, by the way, will indeed count.

In the 75th minute, ‘the Alexes’ were at it again. In a counter-attack led by Baena, the midfielder found the space to pass to Sorloth, who took revenge for the disallowed goals and converted his brace. Now it was the 17th goal for the Norwegian and the 12th assist for the midfielder to consolidate his position at the top of the LALIGA assists table. With the 3-0 scoreline, Villarreal had sealed the win at La Cerámica.