19 April 2019
A 3-1 road victory from the first leg gives Valencia a considerable edge ahead of the return leg of their Europa League quarter-finals tie with Villarreal although the visitors hope they can save a disastrous season by pulling off a miracle at the Estadio de Mestalla.
Having lost just one of their previous 20 competitive outings (W12, D7, L1) the hosts are huge favorites to prevail in this contest and secure the Europa League semi-finals appearance for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign. Practically unbeatable at home, the Oranges have secured nine wins in 13 home fixtures across all competitions since the turn of the year (W9, D4), preventing their rivals from finding the net eight times in the process. What’s more, the Bats are the only Spanish team that has conceded over 1.5 goals per match at home just once for the entire season. Another thing that can encourage their home fans is that Marcelino Garcia Toral’s players have netted 2+ match goals in four of their last five competitive clashes after failing to score over 1.5 match goals four times in a row.
Meanwhile, authors of an underwhelming season, Villarreal are still trying to retain their La Liga status, and potential success in the Europa League is their only opportunity to please their frustrated fans. Coming into this meeting off the back of a narrow 1-0 road win over Girona, the visitors hope they can continue to trouble Valencia at Mestalla given that they’ve pulled off three wins on four of their previous visits to this venue (W3, L1). The aforementioned triumph has helped the Yellow Submarine to snap a four-game winless run (D1, L3) and it was also the first time that Javier Calleja’s men have managed to preserve a clean slate after six consecutive games in which they’ve allowed at least one goal. Villarreal’s defensive woes have seen them conceded 2+ match goals four straight competitive games before weekend’s win, with Calleja’s crew allowing over 2.5 goals per match three times in that period.
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