|First Division - Day 24|
Villarreal 4 - Espanyol 0
Javi Venta, Peña, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Arruabarrena; Josico, Marcos
Senna, Tacchinardi (Héctor Font 73'), Roger (Calleja 84'); José
Marí (Guayre 79'), Diego Forlán. 4-4-2.
Team changes: Villarreal: Peña, Tacchinardi, José Marí for Quique Alvarez, Calleja, Guayre / Espanyol: Zabaleta, Moisés Hurtado, Corominas, Luis García for David García, De la Peña, Jofre, Pandiani.
A morale boosting win for Villarreal, who beat a tired Espanyol 4-0 in the first game of Saturday evening to close up on the UEFA cup spots. Pellegrini's side had been going though a rough patch, dropping out of the European spots in recent weeks, and with a Champions League game coming up against Rangers they needed a win to get their season back on track.
Espanyol too had been struggling recently, and their good runs in the Spanish and UEFA cups was starting to take their toll, with several key players injured. Even so they felt themselves unlucky not to be in the lead early on when Corominas got the ball in the net only for the strike to be ruled out for a questionable offside.
The locals took the lead though midway through the first half, José Marí picking up a loose ball after Javi Venta's shot had been blocked and passing across for Tacchinardi to push the ball past Gorka. Once again though the visitors protested strongly to referee Rubinos Pérez as three players had been standing in an offside position (including the two who intervened in the goal) when Venta shot.
By half time though Villarreal had scored two more and it was all over, Marcos Senna getting his side's second with a long shot which took a wicked deflection off Jarque, and Forlán scoring his first goal in seven games at the third attempt, his first effort being blocked by the keeper and his second hitting the post.
Lotina brought on Pandiani at the break to no avail, and the only chances fell to the locals, Gorka doing well to keep out two efforts from Forlán and another from Gonzalo. And with ten minutes to go Héctor Font made it four after Forlán set him up from right of goal. The result took "the yellow submarine" up to sixth for a couple of hours at least before Sevilla kicked off, and left Espanyol down near the relegation zone, having let in 13 goals now in their last three away games. Unlucky for some.