Villarreal are now in the Copa del Rey Round of 16. Javi Calleja’s side beat Girona (0-3), with the Yellows putting in a great performance, scoring three goals in an exceptional second half. Ramiro Funes Mori, Santi Cazorla and Samu Chukwueze got the Yellows’ goals in a match which also saw academy graduate Fer Niño make his debut for the first team.
At Montilivi, Villarreal took to the pitch with Andrés Fernández in goal and a back line of four, made up of Rubén Peña, Pau Torres, Funes Mori and Xavi Quintillà. In the middle, Calleja lined up with Cazorla, Manu Morlanes and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, while Javi Ontiveros and Moi Gómez were on the wings. Up front, was Colombian striker Carlos Bacca.
The opening saw the Yellows dominate. Calleja’s side took control of the ball and tried to find spaces in the home side’s defence. It was raining as well from the tenth minute at Montilivi.
Despite the Yellows’ attempts, the first half an hour saw few chances. With the majority of possession, the Submarine were camped in Girona’s half. However the first real goalscoring opportunity failed to come until the 36th minute, when Zambo Anguissa’s header from a Cazorla header brushed the bar.
Girona’s best chance in the first half came with five minutes until half-time. Àlex Granell tested Andrés Fernández’s reflexes with a long-range shot, which the goalkeeper saved easily. It was all square at the break, with the scoreboard showing 0-0, and the Yellows going into the dressing rooms after having dominated, but without having had clear opportunities to break the deadlock.
The second half started with the home side looking dangerous. Girona defender Pedro Alcalá’s shot from a corner went wide.
Set pieces were looking crucial. And it was from a corner in the 53rd minute that Villarreal took the lead, with a move straight off the training ground. Cazorla’s corner was headed on by Pau at the near post, before Funes Mori at the back post headed it past Juan Carlos. Unstoppable.
Only a minute late, Cazorla could have doubled the Yellows’ lead. After a counter led by Samu Chukwueze, who came on for Ontiveros, the midfielder received the ball in the area, before shooting low but being denied by Juan Carlos.
With the lead, Calleja decided to look to the bench to try and see out the tie, with Morlanes leaving the pitch to be replaced by Vicente Iborra.
Girona stepped forward, looking for the draw, which helped Villarreal kill off the match with two goals. In the 69th minute, Cazorla captured a loose ball in the area, and stroked the ball into the net, getting his side’s second of the evening. Only two minutes later, Chukwueze scored a goal to remember. Starting on the right flank, he ran past at least three defenders, before beating Juan Carlos at the near post.
Despite being three goals ahead, Villarreal continued looking for more, with Chukwueze and Bacca going close late on.
With 15 minutes left of the game, academy graduate Fer Niño made his debut for the first team in official matches. The Villarreal C striker came on for Pau.
With the game nearly over, Carlos Martínez could have pulled one back for the home side. Fernández and Iborra, however, denied the Catalan side from getting a goal and the Yellows went away with a 0-3 win and a pass into the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. The draw for the next round is on Friday at 1pm CET.
Girona FC: Juan Carlos; Calavera, Ramalho, Alcalá, Brian; Granell, Diamanka (Coris, m. 57), Jozabed (Gumbau, m. 80); Brandon (Carlos Martínez, m. 74), Marc Gual, Álex Gallar.
Villarreal CF: Andrés Fdez.; R. Peña, Pau (Fer Niño, m. 75), Funes Mori, Quintillà; Anguissa, S. Cazorla, Morlanes (Iborra, m. 64); Moi Gómez, J. Ontiveros (Chukwueze, m. 54), Bacca.
Goals: 0-1. Min. 53: Funes Mori. 0-2. Min. 69: Cazorla. 0-3. Min. 71: Chukwueze.
Referee: Cuadra Fernández. Booked: Brian (Girona), Rubén Peña (Villarreal).
Matchday information: Match between Girona and Villarreal CF corresponding to the Copa del Rey Round of 32 at Montilivi.