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After hailing another "great victory" that took his side into the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, Borja Valero said it was vital Villarreal CF now went on to end their wait for European silverware.
The Yellow Submarine sailed into the last four after coming from behind to beat ten-man FC Twente 3-1 in Enschede, as penalties by Giuseppe Rossi and Marco Ruben overturned Emir Bajrami's first-half opener before Cani's last-gasp strike. If this quarter-final was not finished as a contest after the first 90 minutes, when Villarreal rampaged to a 5-1 win at El Madrigal, it was once Dwight Tiendalli was dismissed for a foul in the penalty box on 58 minutes.
Not that the Spanish club were taking things for granted, with midfielder Valero admitting that Villarreal's capitulation in their 5-0 Liga defeat by Valencia CF last Sunday had preyed on their minds. "When they scored we had to stay really focused in case they scored another quick one," Valero told UEFA.com. "
Luckily we managed to turn things around and it was a beautiful victory in the end."
Juan Carlos Garrido's team will face in-form FC Porto next and it promises to be a difficult test. "It will be very complicated," said 26-year-old former West Bromwich Albion FC player Valero, ever-present in the UEFA Europa League this season. "They easily won their league title but we will play the second leg at home, which is a bonus for us. This competition is hugely important for us, vital, and we will fight until the end because we know we have a great chance to win it."
Fellow midfielder Bruno Soriano echoed those words, sensing a golden chance for the club to go further than their previous best – a 2006 UEFA Champions League semi-final. "We have been working so hard to get to the final this year and
Villarreal deserve some reward because we've been trying to win something in UEFA competition for a long time now. It would be incredible if we finally manage it this year."
They stand every chance of reaching the Dublin final with forward Rossi on song. The Italian international moved on to ten goals in the competition with his spot kick at the FC Twente Stadion, one shy of Porto's leading scorer Falcao. "It's a team effort," said a modest Rossi. "You cannot do it all by yourself and this side's playing very well. Today was another game where it all went right for us so we're happy.
"Porto have scored ten goals in two games in the quarter-finals so I'm sure they have excellent potential. They have already won their national title so they must be a very good team. We'll have to be very careful but hopefully we have what it takes to get through to the final."
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