#InvasiónAmarilla, indeed. After pouring in the goals at Mirandes and at home against Numancia, confidence in Vila-real is high among both players and supporters. Nearly 50 buses will make the three-hour trip down to Murcia, an amazing turnout and perhaps the largest away following for the team since our first trip to the Nou Camp as a Primera side. Murcia averages about 7300 per home match, so expect the crowd to be at least a quarter yellow for this one.
Our opponents: Real Murcia are fighting to remain in the Segunda. They escaped last year, though had we survived in the Primera they would have been safe by only one point (and Sabadell would have gone down). Los Pimentoneros have bounced around the divisions--in fact, they have spent five more seasons in La Liga than we have, but never more than three years at a time, and they've never finished in the top half of the table.
This year? Well, they got off to a decent start, and in October even defeated Elche in the New Condomina, but 2013 has been less kind. Their only wins this year have been against Hércules, Mirandés, and Xerez. And as our site founder Maddi pointed out, discipline has been a problem--they have been picking up lots of red cards to go with their red shirts. Last week defender Molinero got two yellows within 14 minutes and Girona romped to a 5-2 win. Molinero has 17 yellows and 2 reds, captain Oscar Sanchez 8 yellows and 3 reds, and midfielder Mehdi Nafti has 13 yellows and a red. Astonishing.
On the positive side (for them) the two goals against Girona represent only the second time in 2013 they have scored more than a goal in a match. Javi Matilla, ex-Villlarreal and Villarreal B man who was either going to be the second coming of Iniesta or Cani, take your pick, leads the way with nine goals (including three penalties). He's on loan from Betis.
Villarreal connection: Apart from Matilla, expect to see Dani Toribio on the pitch for the Paprika Men. He has been playing as a defensive midfielder for them of late. Another ex-Villarreal man, José Catalá, is injured and will not play.
Our squad: It's a sign of how things have been going recently that the injury to Jony Pereira (broken ribs) was hardly commented upon in our forum, when a couple of months ago we would have been crestfallen. In addition to Jony, Hernan is of course out, so too are Mellberg and Farinós, just as last match. I would expect the starting XI to be the same as it was then. Why change what's working?
The full team:
- Keepers: Juan Carlos and Mariño.
- Defenders: Mario, Javi Venta, Jaume Costa, Musacchio and Dorado.
- Midfielders: Marcos Senna, Bruno, Tito Canteros, Trigueros, Aquino, Juanma, Cani, Moi Gómez.
Strikers: Uche, Perbet, Gerard Moreno.
Remember when the two teams met in El Madrigal back in 2012, Villarreal dominated but couldn't score a second goal to finish off the match, and a poor clearance led to a lucky/quality (take your pick) strike from outside the box by Saúl Berjón with only five minutes to go. Oddly enough, Dani Toribio came on as a sub for us in that match!
I believe this will be a tough match, but we can do this. Almeria lost but Girona and Alcorcon both won on the road, so we need to keep pace. Endavant Villarreal! Siempre Endavant!!