Huge result for the visitors as they look to reach the last-four...Villarreal and Sevilla played out a fascinating 3-3 draw in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final. Alexis Delgado's goal three minutes from time earned a vital draw for the visitors who will look to cash in on the return-leg next week and advance into the last-four.
Two of Spain’s most attractive football sides took to the field of El Madrigal full of confidence. The Yellow Submarine had been in fine form prior to their defeat in the capital to Real Madrid at the weekend with Sevilla forging a tremendous comeback in the Basque Country to earn a vital victory against Real Sociedad.
It was Sevilla who started brighter of the two. The visitors enjoyed more of the possession in the opening ten minutes with Romaric and Didier Zokora in particular pulling the strings in centre midfield.
The Andalusians had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring on ten minutes as Alvaro Negredo latched onto Romaric’s ball over the top but got his feet tangled at the pivotal moment and failed to get his shot away in the penalty area. Credit to Villarreal’s Jose Catala whose presence knocked the front-man off his stride.
The Yellow Submarine was coming to the surface as they became more involved in the game. Giuseppe Rossi did ever so well in the middle of the park to bamboozle his way past a number of white shirts before dispatching a terrific through ball into the path of Marco Ruben but the Argentine fired well over the bar.
Villarreal opened the scoring on 23 minutes thanks to Ruben Cani. He latched onto Catala’s ball over the top before playing a diligent pass into the feet of Rossi, whose shot was well saved by Javi Varas but found himself wrong footed and Cani on the half volley put the ball into the net from Santi Cazorla’s rebound.
Villarreal were in the ascendancy and looked likely to score again. Ruben’s header was easily gathered by Varas who was called into action again as he denied a stunning effort from Ruben on the edge of the eighteen yard box with a fierce half volleyed effort at the near post.
The hosts capitalised on their period of domination and doubled their lead on 28 minutes thanks to Rossi who was becoming a predominant figure in the game. The Italian had the rub of the green as the ball found its way to his feet via a corner which set him up perfectly on the edge of the area and caught the ball sweetly but the deflection of a Sevilla man guided the ball past Vares.
Sevilla gave themselves a lifeline as Negredo made up for his earlier miss. Romaric’s precise ball over the top completely caught the Villarreal defence unaware and Negredo did magnificently well to bring the ball down with his left foot whilst being pressured by Catala and slotted the ball into the net.
The second-half continued in the same vein as the first with both sides looking to commit men forward. However, it was Villarreal who edged further in front thanks to Ruben. Joan Capdevilla latched onto Rossi’s clever reverse pass before skipping past Romaric’s challenge and producing a teasing left-footed cross for Ruben to head past Varas.
Incredibly Negredo nearly produced an instant response for the Sevillistas but after finding himself one-on-one with substitute goalkeeper Diego Lopez, he fired straight at the stopper via Diego Capel’s flick on in the penalty area.
Negredo however made no mistake on the hour as he got his side right back into the mix. Neat one two football between Romaric and Capel on the edge of the eighteen-yard box subsequently resulted in a delicious cross towards the far post which hung up perfectly for the Spaniard to produce a bullet of a header that gave Lopez no chance.
Both sides had chances and Villarreal were denied again thanks to a magnificent stop by Varas who made himself big to deny Capdevilla at his near post. The hosts also had a goal chalked off for offside when Ruben thought he had settled the game.
Sevilla with three minutes of normal time remaining pulled level thanks to Alexis whose left-footed effort trickled past Lopez. Romaric who had been in fine form all night, again, produced a cross from the left and substitute Frederic Kanoute’s clever disguised dummy saw the ball find its way to the left foot of the defender to equalise.
The tie is well balanced with Sevilla hoping to make the most of home support in the second-leg next week at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.