First Division - Day 24

Villarreal 2 - Mallorca 1

Villarreal: López Vallejo; Xavi Roca (Galván 92'), Ballesteros, Quique Alvarez, Arruabarrena; Galca, Cagna; Jorge López (Amor 75'), Víctor (Guayre 80'), Calleja; Pizzi. 4-2-3-1.
Mallorca: Roa; Olaizola, Nadal, Fernando Niño, Miguel Soler; Novo, Engonga (Paco Soler 25'), Marcos (Paunovic 60'), Cristian Díaz (Ibagaza 60'); Losada, Luque. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Villarreal: Calleja, Pizzi for Unai, Guayre / Mallorca: Novo for Campano.

1-0. 28. Jorge López. Following up after Roa saved from Ballesteros.
1-1. 68. Losada. From close range after Luque crossed ball in.
2-1. 71. Víctor. Took advantage of bad back pass to shoot into empty net.

Villarreal recorded a much needed 2-1 victory against direct relegation rivals Mallorca to take them five places up the table to eleventh and take some of the pressure off manager Víctor Muñoz. Only one point separated the two sides at the start of the match, and Muñoz brought back Pizzi up front as he went back to his more attacking home formation. Sergio Kresic only made one change, bringing in Novo on the right of midfield for Campano. Both sides began the game nervously, packing the midfield with players and trying not to give anything away at the back. The home side did get through a couple of times though to test a confident Roa, with the Argentine keeper in particular turning a shot from Pizzi for a corner. Mallorca were relying on Luque's speed on the counterattack in the first half, and López Vallejo did well to save from the young striker midway through the half. Then Mallorca lost their midfield general Engonga to injury, and minutes later Jorge López gave the home side the lead from close range after Roa could only parry a shot from Ballesteros.

Pizzi hit the post around half time with another effort, and with an hour gone Kresic decided it was time for a change, bringing on two of his more creative attacking players Paunovic and Ibagaza. That seemed to have worked as Luque set up Losada to level the scores, but only three minutes later Víctor took advantage of a bad back pass by Ibagaza to restore the lead. The visitors piled on the pressure in the closing minutes, with Fernando Niño claiming a penalty when he was pushed in the area and both Olaizola and Luque going close. But Villarreal were not going to let slip their 100th game in the first division, and with Muñoz using up the remaining time making substitutions, they held on to send their opponents down to within two points of the relegation zone.