Villarreal defeated Ponferradina 3-0 (3-1 over the two legs) in a chilly Ceramica Stadium to move on to the round of 16 in the Copa del Rey.
Not much to say about the first half (and anyway, I didn’t see it), except for an injury to Nicola Sansone after 11 minutes; he came off with a calf problem.
Villarreal evened the match on aggregate shortly after the restart; a headed pass put Cedric Bakambu in one-on-one with keeper Moldovan, and Cedric’s shot was strong enough to make it through although the keeper got a hand to it.
That goal broke the Ponfe resistance to some degree, as over the next 15 minutes Villarreal had a number of chances; finally it was Bakambu again who scored, this time off a corner kick that was flicked into the goal area. Ponfe protested he was offside or that Bacca had interfered with the keeper, but to no avail.
Carlos Bacca, who had come on for the largely ineffective Roberto Soriano, followed up two minutes later with a beautiful goal—Chuca raced to a long ball down the left and reached it near the end line, made a diagonal pass to Bacca, and his first touch completely wrongfooted the defender. Bacca then fired an arrow off the inside of the far post past Moldovan. Quite beautiful to watch.
In fairness to Ponfe, they’d had a couple of forced substitutions by now too, but really the gulf in individual skill and talent was what responsible for the change in the scoreboard more than anything else. Of course that gulf is always there when a Primera side takes on a Segunda B team, but sometimes the “minnows” can succeed in controlling the game enough so it’s not evident. But once it is, often one goal is followed by another and another, and that’s what happened here.
Villarreal probably should have added another at least but after Bakambu came off for Trigueros in the 75th minute, Ponfe had their most effective period of the match, Yuri hitting the post from a tight angle and Asenjo forced into action to make a fine reflex save moments later
In injury time Trigueros curled a free kick off the post with the keeper beaten; I have no idea what Carlos Bacca said to Manu before he took the kick, but whatever it was, it cracked our midfielder up.
SO, we move on. With Lleida Esportiu and SD Formetera already in the next round, and Cadiz with a chance to do it, who knows—maybe we’ll face another third-tier team in the round of 16. Or, given our luck in blind draws the last few seasons, Barcelona or Real Madrid. Whatever. Endavant Villarreal!!
Highlights (at least the first 75 minutes worth) are here: