Villarreal 1 Valencia 3: Wass and Guedes strike late to snatch first-leg lead

Valencia will surely be in the Europa League last four after it beat Villarreal 3-1 away from home in its quarterfinal first leg.

Goncalo Guedes reacted the quickest to Dani Parejo's penalty being saved to put Valencia ahead.   -  Getty Images

Desperately late goals from Daniel Wass and Goncalo Guedes helped Valencia to a dramatic 3-1 win at local rival Villarreal in its Europa League quarterfinal first leg, as Los Che put one foot in the last four.

Javi Calleja's men recovered well after a woeful start and it went on to dominate most of the match, but it ran out of steam in the latter stages and Valencia finished it off ruthlessly with two goals right at the end.

Valencia put itself ahead early on when Guedes reacted quickest to Dani Parejo's penalty being saved, but Villarreal soon took control and deservedly levelled with a spot-kick of its own – Santi Cazorla netting.

The visitor struggled to contend with the excellent Cazorla and Villarreal's dynamism in attack after half-time, but its imagination only went so far and it found itself picked off, as Wass slammed a fine strike in before Guedes effectively ended the tie on the break in stoppage time.

Valencia made a positive start and was rewarded after just six minutes, as Santi Caseres tripped Guedes in the box and the Portugal international converted from close range after Parejo's penalty was saved by Andres Fernandez.

But Villarreal levelled just past the half-hour mark – Cazorla converting the match's second penalty in confident fashion after an off-balance Ezequiel Garay tripped Vicente Iborra.

Villarreal continued to pile the pressure on after the break and Samuel Chukwueze twice went close.

His first effort in the 56th minute forced Neto into a smart save down to his left, before the Brazilian then rushed off his line and read Chukwueze's attempted lob after a ball over the defence.

But Villarreal visibly tired and Valencia capitalised in the 90th minute, as Wass met Jose Gaya's low cross just inside the area with a controlled half-volley into the top-left corner.

Los Che arguably put the tie to bed in the third minute of stoppage time – Guedes beating Fernandez when one-on-one after collecting an excellent cross from former Villarreal star Denis Cheryshev.

What does it mean? Ruthless Valencia shows Villarreal how it's done

Villarreal certainly cannot say it did not have the chances to win this. It crafted some fine opportunities and was in control for much of the game.

But Valencia managed the match well, sensing its moment in expert fashion after Villarreal had clearly expended most of its energy. Cheryshev's introduction was vital in that respect, as he stretched the hosts out on the left.

Guedes makes his mark

Although he was quiet for a period of the match, you cannot argue that he was not effective. His early attacking brought the first penalty, which led to his first goal, and he did excellently to finish things off – controlling Cheryshev's cross and having the composure to finish cleverly past Fernandez.

Garay exposed by Villarreal

It was a day to forget for Valencia's Garay. He was cumbersome and slow against Villarreal's dynamic forwards, getting beaten by Gerard Moreno in the box late in the first half, just a few minutes after clumsily fouling Iborra for the hosts' penalty. Luckily for him, Los Che's attackers did enough to render his errors inconsequential.

What's next?

Valencia has another local derby against Levante Sunday before next week's return leg. Villarreal goes to Girona, hoping to get itself out of La Liga's bottom three.

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