Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Sevilla vs Villarreal
With three away goals, the hosts began the match with three central defenders and two advanced full-back, while Villarreal made some changes in attack with fringe players Jozy Altidore and Jefferson Montero both starting.
Despite the defensive mindset, it was Sevilla who launched into the lead after just six minutes. Mouhamadou Dabo’s cross deflected off Mateo Musacchio, Alvaro Negredo pounced on the loose ball and clipped it over on-rushing Diego Lopez for Renato to smash the ball home into the empty net just inches out.
Despite going behind, the Yellow Submarine struggled to respond and didn’t get a decent sight of goal until the 15th minute when Altidore cut into the middle from the left but blazed his shot well over. That gave the visiting side the impetus to impose their game and they came close to the equalizer on 25 minutes when Gonzalo thumped Borja Valero’s freekick against the bar.
Giuseppe Rossi then saw his shot on the turn from close range blocked by a well-time tackle from Dabo. The Frenchman, playing at left-back, charged down to the other end and drilled in a sublime cross for Frederic Kanoute, but the Malian could only head it wide.
A lovely sequence of passes almost ended with a fine goal for Villarreal, but Cani couldn’t get enough swerve on his shot as he attempted to curl the ball in on the left edge of the box. Moments later, Rossi ran onto a through pass from Altidore, but his searing left-foot shot was tipped over by Javi Varas.
Sevilla came close to extending their advantage three minutes from the break when Romaric’s long-range effort was spilled by Diego Lopez, but he managed to recover it in time before Negredo could capitalize.
But Gregorio Manzano’s side got their second goal just 90 seconds into the restart when Romaric’s corner was powered home by Kanoute’s bullet header.
Three minutes later, it was a carbon copy goal as Romaric’s corner delivery was nodded in this time by Alexis. Another three minutes later, Romaric almost had a quickfire hat-trick assist when his corner found Sergio Sanchez, but his effort sailed straight to Diego Lopez.
Villarreal coach Juan Garrido wasn’t about to throw in the towel yet as he sent in midfield regular Bruno Soriano and in-form striker Marco Ruben. But it was the Andalucians who almost put the icing on the cake when Kanoute’s lovely through ball released Negredo, but he smashed his finish over the bar.
El Submarino’s diminished spirits allowed Sevilla to saunter towards the finish line and they were rarely troubled at the back. In fact, Konko and Renato both had chances to add to the scoreline in the final quarter of the match.
Sevilla will now meet either Atletico or Real Madrid in the semi-final.