First Division - Day 18

Villarreal 2 - Celta 0

Villarreal: López Vallejo, Xavi Roca, Quique Alvarez, Unai, Arruabarrena; Jorge López, Amor (Jaime 88'), Cagna (Javier Gracia 75'), Calleja; Moisés (Craioveanu 80'), Víctor. 4-4-2.
Celta: Cavallero; Velasco, Cáceres, Berizzo, Juanfran; Giovanella, Vagner (Gustavo López 46'); Karpin (Doriva 78'), Mostovoi, Edu; Catanha (McCarthy 78'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: Moisés for Bruno Marioni / Celta: Giovanella, Mostovoi, Catanha for Doriva, Gustavo López, McCarthy.

1-0. 33. Unai. Thirty metre free kick which Cavallero got a hand to.
2-0. 67. Moisés. Lobbed over keeper after Jorge López flicked on.

Celta's bad run of form continued, and they fell to another disappointing defeat against one of the revelation teams of the season, big spending Villarreal. Víctor Fernández's team have now not won in the league for nine matches, and although they beat Leganés midweek in the first leg of the third round of the cup, Fernández needs some good results quickly in the league if he is to keep his position much longer. Even the return of midfield general Mostovoi for his first league start in almost two months made little difference, with the team void of ideas against a well organised home side who never looked back after Unai's brilliantly struck free kick left keeper Cavallero clutching at air.

The talk all week at Villarreal was about Martín Palermo, and nobody there can really believe that one of the best strikers in the world is coming to play for them. The truth is that club president Fernando Roig has money to burn, and is committed to go all out to make his team a force to be reckoned with. Neither Palermo nor his teammate Gustavo Schelotto had arrived in time for this match, but the air was electric, with the number 23 shirt already making it's appearance on the backs of the excited fans. The first repercussions of the double signing were already apparent in the team line up however, with Marioni and Gaitán both left out of the squad after Víctor Muñoz (in the stands serving a two match suspension) decided that they could be affected by talk about whether they would be leaving the club to make way for the new boys.

With Marioni for once missing in attack, Moisés took full advantage to send a message to Muñoz that if Palermo didn't work out, he could still count on him. Involved in most of Villarreal's creative moves, the forward was unlucky to see a goal disallowed by referee Daudén Ibáñez in the second half for a non-existent foul, and he finally got his reward later on with his third of the season after Jorge López slipped the ball past the Celta back four. Celta's only real reply was a cross-come-shot by Gustavo López which López Vallejo kept out, and a couple of off target efforts by Catanha, returning to the side after a one match ban. In the last minute Cavallero tipped a shot from Jorge López round the post, but nobody was particularly bothered. Víctor (minor) had won the battle against Víctor (major), and Palermo can be happy that he is joining a side who are only two points away from a place in Europe. With the four teams below them also losing, Celta stay where they are in sixteenth place, but another defeat next week at home to Zaragoza may take them down into the drop zone.