Friday, March 19, 2010

Villa hat-trick seals progress

**David Villa scored a hat-trick as Valencia advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals on away goals after a thrilling draw against Werder Bremen.

Valencia grabbed the lead after two minutes through Villa and Juan Manuel Mata made it 2-0 with just quarter of an hour gone.

Hugo Almeida pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 26th minute before Villa grabbed his second just before the interval.

Torsten Frings scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute and Marko Marin made it 3-3 just five minutes later, but Villa completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute and Claudio Pizarro's strike six minutes from time was not enough for the home side.

Valencia jumped ahead just two minutes into the game after a poor headed clearance which landed right at the feet of David Silva. The Spain international found Villa in space on the left and he beat Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese with a shot into the far corner.

Bremen had two fine chances through Aaron Hunt and Claudio Pizarro but it was Valencia who scored again on 15 minutes as Silva was the provider once more, finding Mata who fired past Wiese.

That prompted Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf to bring on another striker, Miguel Almeida, in place of midfielder Tim Borowski after just 21 minutes.

And Almeida cut the deficit just five minutes after coming on, slotting home Pizarro's fine cross.

The German side continued to push forward and Hunt and Almeida both failed to take advantage of chances nine minutes from the break.

And Villa silenced the Bremen crowd just before half-time, firing home from eight yards after Silva's pass from the touchline.

The gap was back to one after 57 minutes as Bremen captain Frings converted a penalty after Jordi Alba brought down Marin in the area.

Frings' shot was hit directly at Valencia goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez but he could only punch the ball into his own goal.

Marin equalised five minutes later with Mesut Ozil setting up the young German international to beat Sanchez.

However, Valencia held their nerve and Villa collected a long diagonal pass from Mata before beating Wiese and completing his hat-trick after 65 minutes.

Bremen refused to give up and Pizarro equalised with a header in the 84th minute for his ninth goal of the competition, but the home side could not score the vital winner in five minutes of stoppage time.

Team Line-ups :
Bremen: Wiese; Pasanen, Fritz (Rosenberg 79), Mertesacker, Naldo; Frings, Borowski (Almeida 21), Özil; Pizarro, Hunt, Marin

Valencia: Cesar; Marchena (Michel 65), Bruno (Alba 46), Miguel, Dealbert; Joaquin (Fernandes 55), Baraja, Silva, Maduro; Villa, Mata


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