Villarreal battle to victory over Rayo Vallecano


Villarreal produced a blistering second-half performance to battle back from two goals down and take all three points at home to Rayo Vallecano. The Madrid side led 2-0 with under half an hour played thanks to goals by Gael Kakuta and Alberto Bueno but Javier Espinosa pulled one back for the hosts before the break and then Mateo Musacchio equalised. Luciano Vietto then finished off off Paco Jemez's side with two late goals to seal a 4-2 win. The win sees Villarreal move on to seven points, while Rayo suffered a second consecutive loss and are still searching for the first win of the season. The hosts lacked intensity early on but could have taken the lead when Espinosa held off two defenders in the Rayo area only to slam his shot into the side netting. Denis Cheryshev had the hosts' first attempt on target, forcing Cristian Alvarez to dive low to turn his long-range effort away. Rayo controlled possession and midway through the first half had a goal to show for it. Full-back Tito was afforded plenty of space on the right wing and cut inside to send a left-footed cross onto the head of Kakuta, who scored his second goal in as many games. Rayo were able to double their lead just before the half hour mark. Once again they found space down the right wing but this time it was Lica who sent the cross in towards Leo Baptistao in the area. The Brazilian could not properly connect with the cross but forced Sergio Asenjo to go to ground and the rebound landed at the feet of Bueno, who simply could not miss. However, the hosts quickly pulled a goal back. Ikechukwu Uche took a quick free-kick to release Cheryshev and Alvarez could only palm the shot to the other side of the goal, where Espinosa was waiting to nudge home. Although Asenjo tipped a dangerous shot from Ze Castro over the bar just after the break, it was mostly one way traffic in the second period as Villarreal sought an equaliser. First Uche was denied by Alvarez, then Cheryshev hit the post. The goalkeeper then made the save of the game to tip a goal-bound shot from Musacchio over the bar, but the Argentine defender got his revenge from the resulting corner, thundering a header past his compatriot to level. But Villarreal refused to accept a mere point and stepped up their assault on the Rayo goal. They were eventually rewarded in the 74th minute when Cheryshev hurtled down the left hand side and rolled the ball across the box for Vietto to slam home with his left foot. Rayo had no response and with three minutes left Cheryshev and Vietto combined again to score a fourth, the latter poking home from close range.