|First Division - Day 22|
Villarreal 2 - Racing Santander 1
Javi Venta, Quique Alvarez, Peña, Arruabarrena (Battaglia 77'); Marcos
Senna; Héctor Font (Cazorla 66'), Guayre (José Marí 71'),
Riquelme, Sorín; Diego Forlán. 4-1-4-1.
Team changes: Villarreal: No change / Racing: Oriol for Juanma.
Villarreal's great run in the new year continued on Sunday, the East coast side coming from behind to beat Racing Santander 2-1 and make it five wins in a row. Although the first chance fell to the home side when Arruabarrena headed Riquelme's free kick against the woodwork, the Cantabrians were looking the better side. And they took the lead with a spectacular shot from Regueiro following a short free kick, his strike thundering off the crossbar and into the net to beat Reina for only the fourth time at home this season.
Only ten minutes later though the visitors were left with ten men when Regragui picked up a second booking, and Riquelme almost levelled the scores with a vicious free kick which bounced back off the bar. And three minutes in to the second half the locals got the equaliser they were looking for, Guayre celebrating a first ever call up for Spain's full international side by setting up Diego Forlán for him to slide home his fourteenth goal of the season.
It was only a matter of time after that before they got the winner, although they were perhaps fortunate in the end to be awarded a penalty by referee Fernández Borbolán when Arruabarrena fell rather easily in the area. Riquelme stepped up though to tuck away the spot kick, Aouate frustrated with himself after he got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it going in.
Riquelme had another shot blocked and Regueiro fired a shot over the bar at the other end later on, but the damage had been done. Pellegrini's side move up to fifth in the table, just one point behind third placed Valencia, and their opponents found themselves back in the relegation spots at the end of the weekend.