Three golden points. Villarreal beat Valencia at the Mestalla stadium (0-1) thanks to a top-class goal by Bacca, coolly-taken by the Yellow number 9 to beat Neto at the near post. Most importantly, it was enough to give the Yellows the three points in the regional derby on Matchday 17 in the LaLiga Santander. Javi Calleja’s side gave it everything to take down a Valencia side that hadn’t lost a game in front of their fans at home this season. A huge statement to see out 2017.
There was great respect between both teams and it was an even start to the long-awaited derby. It was the home side that had the first clear chance of the game. Zaza tried his luck from long range but his strike was comfortably saved by Sergio Asenjo. Minutes later, Villarreal's Castellón-born centre midfielder, Pablo Fornals, did the same with a shot from the top of the box but his effort was denied by Neto.
From the first minute, the locals piled the pressure on the Yellow Submarine’s defence. Nevertheless, quick counterattacking play in the middle of the pitch by Castillejo and Fornals caught Valencia by surprise. The Yellow number 8 played a brilliant ball into space for Bacca and the experienced Colombian forward made no mistake. Through one on one against Neto, the Villarreal striker tricked the Brazilian goalkeeper and cooly struck the ball into the near corner. Villarreal took the lead at the Mestalla.
After the goal, the Yellows took a step back and focused on keeping Valencia at bay, who looked to attack down the wings and put dangerous balls into the box. After 20 minutes of hard work, the Yellows went into the break one-nil up.
The second half started with another chance for the home side. Zaza tried to beat Sergio Asenjo, but the Yellow number 1 made a spectacular save to keep the Submarine in front.
Then, a quarter of an hour into the first half, Gabriel hit the crossbar from a corner kick and immediately after Zaza was awarded his second yellow card of the game after a hard challenge on Bakambu in the Yellows box.
However, even though the white-and-blacks were a man down they didn’t stop going in search of the equaliser. Villarreal did not back down though and nearly made it two goals in the 70th minute, Roberto Soriano’s shot went just wide after he dribbled the ball 30 metres down the pitch on a counterattack before letting rip from the edge of the box.
Ten minutes from the end, the referee showed Trigueros his second yellow card of the game, leaving Villarreal with ten players as well. It was end to end stuff in the final moments of the match. Cheryshev had the clearest chance but he couldn’t take advantage of a good ball into the box. It didn’t matter though, the referee eventually blew the final whistle and Villarreal took away the three points against Valencia, racking up their third consecutive win to see out the year.
Valencia CF: Neto; Montoya, Garay, Gabriel, Lato (Mina, m. 69); Kondogbia, Parejo, Guedes, Pereira; Rodrigo and Zaza.
Villarreal CF: Asenjo; Mario, Víctor Ruiz, Álvaro, Rukavina; Rodrigo, Trigueros, Castillejo (Soriano, m. 67), Fornals; Bacca (Raba, m. 54) and Bakambu.
Goals: 0-1. Min. 23: Bacca.
Referee: Trujillo Suárez (Canary Islands, Spain). Cautioned: Kondogbia, Parejo, Gabriel, Neto and Montoya for Valencia; Fornals, Álvaro and Rukavina for Villarreal. Sent off: Zaza for Valencia and Trigueros for Villarreal.
Stadium: Estadio de Mestalla.