Villarreal (Spain), Jan 1 (IANS) Bruno Soriano’s spectacular second-half goal gave Villarreal a 1-0 win over Valencia in a La Liga contest at the Estadio El Madrigal here.
With this win on Thursday, Villarreal, with 33 points from 17 matches, move up to fourth place, two ahead of Celta Vigo and three behind Real Madrid. Still without a win under new coach Gary Neville, Valencia sit in 10th place with 22 points.
Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, the visitors largely ceded the initiative to the home team, who put on an impressive display but failed to mount any serious threat to the goal protected by Valencia’s Jaume Domenech, reports Efe.
The hosts’ only real opportunity of the first half came on a free kick by Soriano, whose shot sailed harmlessly outside the post.
Valencia looked like a different squad for the first 15 minutes of the second half, dominating the flow of play and creating a trio of legitimate chances.
But just when Villarreal appeared to be in real trouble, a foul on Soldado on the edge of the area set up another free kick by Soriano, who sent the ball past Domenech into the top left corner of the net.
Valencia used their substitutions to bring on three attackers, to no avail, as Villarreal re-established control and made the 1-0 lead hold up for the victory.