It was a key moment and the Submarine not only lived up to it, but exceeded the test with flying colors. In a big game, with serious hard work, Villarreal defeated CE Sabadell at El Madrigal (3-0) with goals from Gerard Moreno, Cani and Jonathan Pereira.
The Yellows needed to make up from the bitter swill of Valdebebas and demonstrated from the start with a fast and elaborated gameplay that they could disarm the harlequin side. Sabadell is a dangerous team who never lost their faith on their own chances. In the end, three very important points for Marcelino's men, allowing the Yellows to stay put in the upper middle of the standings chart and insufflate pressure on their closest rivals.
The first few minutes were tentative. Villarreal trying the passing game and Sabadell opting forthe convenience of a solid defense, looking to connect with its two wingmen with long balls. In the 6th minute, a timely header by Mellberg forced Nauzet to stretch to clear the ball on a play that seemed harmless at first and almost ends in goal for the Yellows.
The Submarine players worked hard on every play. Suddenly a ball ended up at Farinós feet, who served the ball from the side, but the Harlequin defense cleared the ball. It miraculously fell at the feet of Gerard Moreno, who was wide open and, without thinking, beating Nauzet with a low shot.
The goal awoke the Catalans, who tried to take the lead stretching their position on the field and allowing the Yellows to fastbreak while finding gaps. With a fast and flashy game and taking advantage of the speed of Jonathan Pereira and Cani's good touch, the Submarine's spinning moves, despite not finishing on goal, left a good taste in the stands of El Madrigal. Within half an hour, Trigueros in an almost acrobatic position, tried a cross shot that unfortunately missed the goal by a couple of inches.
In the 38th minute, came what was the clearest scoring chance for the Submarine. The play began with a steal by Farinós, who after seeing Gerard Moreno unmarked, served a long ball for the Catalan. With a classy move, Villarreal's young talent got rid of his marker but his magnificent cross shot went on to hit the post.
Looking ahead to the second half, the game opened up a bit more if possible. With Sabadell forced to find the equalizer, the game picked up speed almost from the resumption. In minute 52 came the most controversial play of the game. Gerard Moreno sped from behind to serve the ball to Cani, who relentlessly beat Nauzet from outside the area, but the referee called the play offside.
Once again, the Zaragoza native Cani had another chance and scored the second goal, receiving a great center pass from Trigueros and chopping the ball to put the 2-0 on the scoreboard. This goal was far from satisfying the Yellows, it increaded their desire of goals. Without lowering the intensity, Villarreal remained in the field of Sabadell. The Catalan side tried to take advantage of long balls to their fast vangarde men and around minute 74, Uli Davila enjoyed a good opportunity for the Harlequins after a good combination with Anibal, but Juan Carlos rejected the Mexican's shot.
During the last fifteen minutes, the two teams got into an exchange of plays. Finally, around minute 86 Jonathan Pereira scored the final 3-0 in a great individual move that rewarded him after his huge efforts during the entire match.
Villarreal CF: Juan Carlos, Mario, Mellberg, Musacchio, Joan Oriol; Trigueros, Farinós, Marcos Senna (Tito Canteros 77'), Cani (Moi Gomez 85'), Jonathan Pereira and Gerard Moreno (Jaume Costa 58').
CE Sabadell: Nauzet; Toni Lao, Goni, Abraham Paz, Oscar Ramirez, Ciércoles, Fito (Juvenal 27'), Hidalgo Gato (Baha 62'), Uli Davila and Arteaga (Aníbal 62').
Goals: 1-0, min. 12: Gerard Moreno. 2-0 min. 66: Cani. 3-0 min. 86: Jonathan Pereira.
Referee: Eduardo Iglesias Prieto. Yellow cards for Joan Oriol (34'), Musacchio (42') for Villarreal and Ciércoles (75') for Sabadell.