Villarreal all but booked their place in the Europa League semi-finals as the decision of Twente coach Michel Preud’homme to play a back three backfired in spectacular fashion. The Dutch champions were simply overwhelmed by Villarreal, losing 5-1 in El Madrigal. Nilmar scored twice as El Submarino Amarillo laid down a marker to any other would-be contenders for the trophy.
Villarreal’s opening goal after 23 minutes came as something of a surprise as neither side had looked threatening beforehand. Borja Valero’s corner was smartly flicked on at the near post by Jesus Catala into the path of Carlos Marchena, who nodded the ball past Twente goalkeeper Nicolai Mihaylov. Preud’homme will have been disappointed at his side’s poor marking from the corner, with Luuk De Jong losing concentration at the wrong moment.
If the first goal had been unexpected, the second was the logical conclusion to an excellent spell of play for the home side. Borja Valero, who had begun to pull the strings in midfield, latched onto an excellent through ball from Santiago Cazorla. The midfielder kept his cool to slide the ball past Mihaylov into the net as Twente’s three-man backline was once again ruthlessly exposed.
Peter Wisgerhof may have brought a great deal solidity to the Twente defence but he let his side down badly in first-half stoppage time. The Tukkers’ skipper helped on a long throw into the path of Nilmar, who did not look a gift horse in the mouth, and helped himself to one of the easiest goals he will score all season.
Giuseppe Rossi showed just why he is Villareal’s top scorer in this season’s Europa League with a magnificent fourth, just as Twente had begun to find their feet. The Twente defenders fatally backed off, allowing the Italian international to pick out the top corner with a superb left-footed strike that left Mihaylov motionless.
Nilmar added the icing on the cake with a brilliant fifth goal with ten minutes remaining. His first touch took the ailing Douglas out of the game before he clinically blasted the ball past Mihaylov. Marc Janko netted a late consolation goal in injury time, heading home Wisgerhof’s cross past Diego Lopez to avert Twente’s heaviest ever defeat in European competition.
Both sides were cagey in the opening twenty minutes before the goal however, Villarreal were dominant thereafter with a more expansive game. Twente received another body blow when Luuk De Jong went off in the 32nd minute with injury to be replaced by Janko. Moments later, Nilmar hit the post when he really should have scored, having chipped Mihaylov.
Twente improved slightly after the break. Bryan Ruiz sprung the offside trap on 53 minutes but headed disappointingly wide and after Cazorla’s shot was saved, Janko blasted over the bar just before the hour. The Austrian was fortunate to only be booked on 70 minutes for a rash challenge from behind, which saw Gonzalo Rodriguez stretchered off.
Both sides will meet in seven days’ time for the second leg at the Grolsch Veste in Enschede in a match that has effectively become a dead rubber.