Well there you have it ladies and gentleman, Valencia CF managed to win against a very tough opponent in Villarreal tonight and it was a hard fought victory. At times Villarreal looked like they would score at any moment, but Valencia's defense stood tall and weathered through Villarreal's attacks, while through counter attacks Valencia CF managed to score 2 goals, with one early own goal by Villarreal giving Valencia CF the lead in the first half.
I got to say that Villarreal were the more dangerous opponent in the first half by far, although apart from their consolation goal in the second half they weren't as dangerous and Valencia's better concentration and focus allowed them to score two goals from just about that many chances.
Coach Nuno decided to start with a 2 man central midfield, in a 4-4-2 formation, with Fuego and Gomes forming the midfield duo and Feghouli and Piatti on the wings, with Paco and Moreno are the two strikers. This was a bit of a detour from some of the training sessions before the match. This formation and midfield duo would pretty much ensure that Villarreal had better possession. Even though both sides battled for several minutes for control of the match, Villarreal was able to win out and pretty much go on a constant attack against Valencia CF.
The lucky break for Valencia CF was in the 6th minute when Trigueros managed to score an own goal, the second own goal in the 6th minute Valencia CF has managed to force, with Miranda scoring an own goal in the Atletico Madrid match in the 6th minute.
The second half Villarreal came out in full force and they looked determined to find an equalizer, but Valencia's defense was solid and stood its ground. Even though Villarreal were the ones constantly attacking, they didn't actually have any clear cut chances. There was one mess in the Valencia CF penalty box and two shots that Diego luckily saved and of course they did score a goal in the closing stages of the match, but apart from those 2-3 good chances, all that attacking play didn't pay off at all.
Valencia CF on the other hand ventured forward sparsely and when they did Villarreal won the ball pretty quickly, but on two occasions Valencia CF managed to score. The first goal was created by Piatti, he played on the right wing with Feghouli, it was a short one two, Piatti crossed the ball in the penalty area and Mustafi found the space and headed the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
Several minutes later Feghouli was jumping in the penalty area and managed to heal the ball into the center of the penalty area where Mustafi happened to stand and his shot ended up in the net, making it 3-0 for Valencia CF.
The match tempo slowed down at this point, though Villarreal did manage to score a goal in the 88th minute as Valencia's concentration began to fall as the game was pretty much won by that point, though its something for coach Nuno to work with the players and ensure maximum concentration even when winning by 3 goals until the final whistle is blown.
Villarreal: Asenjo, Mario, Gabriel, Dorado, Jaume Costa, Moi Gómez (Jonathan dos Santos, m.61), Trigueros, Bruno, Cheryshev, Giovani (Vietto, m.65) Uche (Gerard Moreno, m.70).
Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Barragán, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayá, Javi Fuego, Feghouli (Carles Gil, m.77), André Gomes, Rodrigo (De Paul, m.86), Piatti, Alcácer (Negredo, m.78).
Manuel Trigueros (o.g) 0-1, 6 min.
Shkodran Mustafi 0-2, 64 min.
Shkodran Mustafi 0-3, 73 min.
Manuel Trigueros 1-3, 88 min.
Digeo 6.5 - Was alert at all times and did well to block a powerful shot in the second half to keep Valencia CF in the lead.
Barragan 6.5 - Did well defensively, blocking few crosses and always marking the opposition.
Mustafi 8 - He did well defensively, but it was his offensive contribution in this match that sets him apart. Scored two goals that even top strikers could be jealous of.
Otamendi 6 - Not as secure in the previous matches, he had one blunder in the second half and then was out of position for the Villarreal goal, marking the wrong person.
Gaya 6.5 - Coped well defensively, anticipated and intercepted a lot of passes and was generally secure enough against the numerous Villarreal attacks.
Feghouli 6.5 - Was rather invisible for most of the match, but played an important role in the buildup of both of the goals and got himself a rather lucky assist, but assist non the less.
Fuego 7 - Played an important part in the defense and had few crucial blocks and interceptions.
Gomes 6.5 - Couldn't control the midfield and together with Fuego lost the midfield battle, but was still very dangerous on the counter attacks and his passing was crisp and precise.
Piatti 7 - Wasn't really effective from the left wing, but went to the right wing and after a quick one two with Feghouli managed to cross the ball to Mustafi who headed the ball into the net.
Moreno 6.5 - Very threatning when he had the ball at his feet and always caused Villarreal problems, even though Valencia CF barely had the ball.
Paco 5.5 - Wasn't very effective and missed two great passes as he wasn't fast enough in both cases and missed good opportunities for goal. Could have easily had two, or at least one goal if he reacted faster.
Carles Gil N/A - Not enough time
Negredo N/A - Not enough time
De Paul N/A - Not enough time