Brave Danes deny Villarreal
Aalborg twice came from behind to earn a share of the spoils as their Group E encounter with Villarreal finished 2-2.
Last Updated: 05/11/08 10:32pm
Aalborg twice came from behind to earn a share of the spoils as their Group E encounter with Villarreal finished 2-2 at the Energi Nord Arena.
Giuseppe Rossi had ensured that the Spaniards headed in a goal to the good at the interval as he slotted home the opener on 41 minutes.
Aalborg drew level after the break courtesy of a fine Jeppe Curth strike, but looked to have slipped to an unfortunate defeat as substitute Guillermo Franco fired home for Villarreal with a quarter of an hour remaining.
But a spirited performance from the hosts got the reward it merited as Anders Due curled home a stunning long-range free-kick to restore parity and ensure Villarreal are made to wait for qualification to the knock-out phase.
In contrast to the contest at the Madrigal two weeks ago, Villarreal made a positive start in Denmark but, despite their trademark intricate approach play, struggled to create opportunities with a resolute and compact Aalborg backline very much on their game.
Rossi did find the side-netting after a precise pass from Santi Cazorla, but it was not until a long-ranger from Marcos Senna was spilled by Karim Zaza just before the half-hour mark that they genuinely threatened.
The Aalborg keeper did produce decent saves from Rossi and then Llorente to keep the scores level, but could do nothing to stop the Italian from edging his side ahead just before half-time.
The goal stemmed from an Aalborg attack, but having been fed just inside his own half Robert Pires led a quick break from the visitors before laying off to Rossi who cut back inside on to his left foot and despatched a low shot past Zaza into the far corner.
But if Villarreal hoped that goal would draw the sting from the Danes they were mistaken as Allan Kuhn's side capped a strong start to the second period with an equaliser on 54 minutes. Lucas Caca's clever back-heel into the box wrong-footed a couple of defenders and released Curth who hammered an emphatic early shot past Diego Lopez.
Tails up, the hosts had a couple of very presentable chances to move ahead with Kasper Bogelund seeing a rising shot tipped over by Lopez and Caca's goal-bound header blocked at point-blank range by Joan Capdevila.
Those misses looked likely to prove costly as Villarreal got their noses back in front - Joseba Llorente lifting a delightful flicked ball over the home defence that Franco expertly controlled on his chest before rifling home.
But Aalborg responded in style when Due stepped up to unleash a superbly-placed free-kick from 30 yards that found the top corner despite the best efforts of Lopez and salt was rubbed into Villarreal wounds in stoppage time as Franco's protests for a penalty were waved away after he appeared to have been brought down in the box by Steve Olfers.
|Aalborg BK||Team Statistics||Villarreal|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||7|
|2||Shots off Target||6|