Llorente leads Aalborg rout
Villarreal overcame a sluggish first-half display to emerge convincing 6-3 victors over Aalborg after a memorable game at El Madrigal.
Last Updated: 21/10/08 10:39pm
Villarreal overcame a sluggish first-half display to ultimately emerge convincing 6-3 victors over a gallant Aalborg side after a memorable encounter at El Madrigal.
The Danes had been expected to offer little more than a spirited rearguard action in Spain but, after setting out with an ambitious attacking attitude that seemed to catch their opponents off guard, were more than a touch unfortunate not to go in ahead at the interval instead of level at 2-2.
However, with the introduction of Joseba Llorente who helped himself to a hat-trick, Villarreal were a different prospect in the second period and, their neat passing game having clicked into gear, they made their class tell to secure a victory which puts them firmly on course for qualification from Group E.
With the Spaniards having not conceded more than single goal in any match this term, Aalborg had seemed unlikely to pose the notoriously tight Villarreal backline many problems. That theory was quickly dispelled, though, when after a bright start Bruce Rioch's side took a deserved lead on 19 minutes when former Southampton striker Marek Saganowski headed home an inviting left-wing cross from the lively Anders Due.
Due himself then saw a header saved by Diego Lopez before Villarreal roused themselves to draw level - Guiseppe Rossi prodding home via a deflection after Santi Cazorla had played in full-back Angel Lopez down the right.
Despite failing to convince either up front or at the back, the Spaniards hit the front just past the half hour, Joan Capdevila controlling nicely after a corner was cleared to him on the edge of the box before rifling in a superb volley on his weaker right foot.
But Aalborg refused to lie down and grabbed the equaliser their efforts merited three minutes later when Saganowski released Thomas Enevoldsen who finished delightfully by lifting over the advancing Lopez.
Looking for a response from his team, Manuel Pellegrini replaced the largely ineffectual Guille Franco with Llorente at the break and reaped stunning dividends as the striker turned the match.
He edged his side ahead midway through the second half as he latched on to Marcos Senna's spilled long-ranger to bundle home at the second attempt and added his second two minutes later as he was on hand to turn substitute Robert Pires' unselfish cross into an empty net.
Aalborg responded again as former Wigan man Andreas Johansson guided home a header from Due's free-kick, but any hopes of an unlikley comeback were quickly quashed by Pires.
Having played in Cazorla, the Frenchman reacted quickest in a crowded penalty box, stooping to nod home after Karim Zaza in the visitors' goal had pushed out Cazorla's stinging drive.
Llorente then added a gloss to the scoreline and capped a wonderful individual display as he volleyed home a pinpoint Capdevila cross at the far post to bring down the curtain on a breathless night of action.
|Villarreal||Team Statistics||Aalborg BK|
|2||1st Half Goals||2|
|11||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||4|