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Giuseppe Rossi and Gonzalo have a good understanding on the pitch but off it they struggled to agree whether or not Villarreal CF's 2-1 victory against ten-man Club Brugge KV in UEFA Europa League Group D was too close for comfort.
Belgian hopes seemed to have vanished when Ronald Vargas was sent off midway through the first half. Yet despite goals from Rossi and Gonzalo either side of a close-range finish from Ryan Donk, Villarreal could never get away against stubborn opposition. "Not a problem," Rossi told UEFA.com.
"I don't think we should confuse working hard to win with a game being particularly complicated," said the Italy striker. "We were eager to win after losing our opening group game [to NK Dinamo Zagreb]. At 1-0 up we conceded a lucky goal but after half-time we controlled the ball, moved it well, and bossed the game.
Although it only ended 2-1 I don't think we were ever in any danger of not winning."
Rossi's post-match assertiveness contrasted with the majority at El Madrigal, who grew restless as chances were spurned, particularly at the feet of Jozy Altidore. Gonzalo shared their frustrations, saying: "It's a golden rule to win your home games in Europe and that gets complicated when you are in added time before the break and, basically, give away a goal.
We had an absolute mountain of chances to bury the game and didn't take them – it made the match unnecessarily complicated."
After his headed winner, 11 minutes into the second half, Gonzalo celebrated with a gesture of 'that's for you' in the direction of Villarreal goalkeeper Diego López. Gonzalo had caused an accidental collision which floored López and allowed Donk to tap in the equaliser. Indeed it was an eventful night for keepers, with Geert De Vlieger making a rare appearance for Club Brugge in place of the injured Stijn Stijnen. The 38-year-old was in fine fettle, making three fine early saves before a groin strain forced him to be replaced by Colin Coosemans, 18.
"We know Villarreal are very strong so it was up to us to perform at our best," De Vlieger explained. "I came into this knowing that I might have to produce lots of saves and those I made at the beginning are the most difficult for a keeper because when it is one-on-one the striker has a big advantage. But as soon as we went down to ten men it was always going to be difficult."
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