Valencia 2 Villarreal 0 (5-1 agg): Lato and Parejo set up Arsenal semifinal clash

Toni Lato and Dani Parejo were on target for Valencia as Marcelino's side eased into the Europa League semifinals by beating Villarreal.


Valencia players celebrate Dani Parejo's goal against Villarreal.   -  Getty Images

Valencia set up a Europa League semifinal against Arsenal as it made light work of Villarreal by winning 2-0 on Thursday to seal a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Holding a comfortable 3-1 advantage from the first leg, Toni Lato got things started for Valencia following a bright start, volleying home from close range after superb work from the impressive Goncalo Guedes.

Valencia continued to dominate at a wet Mestalla and Dani Parejo, who had a penalty saved in the first leg, dashed Villarreal's slim comeback hopes when his deflected free-kick found the net early in the second half.

Los Che will now face Arsenal and its former boss Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium on May 2 before welcoming the Gunners back to Spain a week later as it bids to reach its first major European final since 2004.

Related: Lacazette stunner sees Gunners coast through

With Marcelino having acknowledged that the first-leg result flattered his side, Valenica was sharp out of the blocks this time around, and was rewarded when Lato deftly helped Guedes' exquisite chipped pass past Andres Fernandez in the 13th minute.

Valencia should have been out of sight a minute later, but Kevin Gameiro failed to direct his lob on target.

Fernandez looked to have made a terrible error when he rushed 35 yards out to try and meet a loose ball, but fortunately for Villarreal its goalkeeper was in the right place to stop Gameiro's snapshot.

There was nothing Fernandez could do to prevent Valencia doubling its tally nine minutes after the restart, however, Parejo's free-kick looping in wickedly off a deflection from Ramiro Funes Mori.

Alfonso Pedraza went close to snatching a consolation for Villarreal, but Neto was on hand to keep Valencia's clean sheet intact as Los Che progressed in style.

What's next?

Real Betis is next up for Valencia, as it chases a top-four finish in LaLiga. Villarreal is still firmly in the relegation scrap, and hosts Leganes on Sunday.

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