Villarreal to face Valencia

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:06 IST

Villarreal will find themselves hosting Valencia in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-finals today.

Villarreal to face Valencia

Madrid:

Villarreal will find themselves hosting Valencia in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-finals today. League leaders Valencia are aiming for their third triumph in the competition, having earlier won in 1962 and 1963. On their part, Villarreal have yet to concede a goal at their Madrigal Stadium in any of their eight European matches. An equal match "We know the potential that Villarreal have, we know that they're a very good team and we know that they're going through a very good phase. I think it's going to be a pretty equal semi-final," said Valencia coach Rafael Benitez. Villarreal hope Valencia will be distracted by the rigours of their neck-and-neck Liga title race with Real Madrid. Valencia will be missing injured Argentine forward Pablo Aimar, although Mali midfielder Mohammed Sissoko has recovered from a sprained ankle. Villarreal's only absentee is suspended Argentine international right back Rodolfo Arruabarrena. Impressive rise Making their debut in Europe this season, Villarreal only qualified for the continent's second most prestigious club competition via the Intertoto Cup. But since then they have blazed a trail to the last four, eliminating Trabzonspor, Torpedo Moscow, Galatasaray, AS Roma and last year's finalists Celtic, on the way. Much of the credit for Villarreal's surprise success goes to veteran coach Paquito Garcia, who took charge for the rest of the season in a caretaker role after Benito Floro surprisingly resigned in January. (AP)

Topics : Football
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