For two very experienced Valencia CF players the cup was at least half full, rather than half empty, given that a draining, eventful 3-2 victory over dogged Genoa CFC in Group B of the UEFA Europa League produced more causes for optimism than irritation at the Mestalla.
Neither David Albelda nor David Villa were happy that their Italian opponents posed so many problems, scored twice and nearly returned home with a valuable point, but Villa was particularly relieved to have scored the winner from the spot after coming on as a second-half substitute. Both players believe Valencia are capable of reaching the final, but each is cautious about reading too much into this result. Villa, whose late spot-kick put Valencia level on points with Group B leaders LOSC Lille Métropole, told uefa.com: "You never know whether you'll have the advantage over the keeper or not because of the pressure and I've missed a couple of penalties recently so I was glad the ball hit the back of the net and helped my team win."
It was Villa's eighth goal in as many games for Valencia this season, and he added: "Standing there about to take it you really only think about putting the ball in the net. I try to stay calm, I particularly try not to be nervous and I just hope I score. When the coach called me to get into the game we were actually winning 2-1 but by the time I'd got stripped and was ready to go on Genoa had equalised, so I was happy to come up with the winner and my aim is to continue scoring all season, if I can, because I think we have a team which can get to the final."
Albelda, now with 83 appearances in UEFA club competitions, felt slightly more contentment than frustration. "I'm happy to win and I felt we had most of the match under control, but we must work to eliminate the defensive errors. We knew Genoa were a side which hits on the break when they win the ball back. Nevertheless, they only got near our goal on about two occasions, but to have a statistic which says that they scored each time they got near our goal - once when we were trying to clear the ball and then from a penalty - isn't good enough. I enjoyed the performance of Éver Banega who has really good technical skills and now we are ready for the mini-war with Lille for which of us will win the group."
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