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Villa strike eases Valencia nerves

Genoa CFC 1-2 Valencia CF
David Villa's goal five minutes into added time helped the visitors through as winners of Group B after an eventful evening in Italy.

David Villa celebrates his winning goal
David Villa celebrates his winning goal ©Getty Images

David Villa's goal five minutes into added time earned Valencia CF victory over a spirited Genoa CFC side and a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as Group B winners.

Penalty miss
Having fallen behind in first-half added time to Bruno Saltor's looping header, the Rossoblù needed to score twice to prolong their European campaign. Hernán Crespo supplied the first of those six minutes into the second half but, despite incessant pressure, the Serie A outfit − who survived a late penalty miss by Villa − were unable to land the killer blow and slipped to defeat when Villa punished a weak clearance by goalkeeper Alessio Scarpi with the last act of the match.

Lively Villa
Villa signalled Valencia's intent by twice testing Scarpi inside the opening ten minutes. After receiving possession from Miguel, he evaded Emiliano Moretti and Domenico Criscito before drilling straight at Scarpi, while shortly after he tried his luck with a snapshot from distance.

Marchena injury
The game was being played at pace and only a last-ditch block from Carlos Marchena denied Rodrigo Palacio. Villa was proving difficult to contain and a delightful flick from the No7 presented Joaquín with a clear sight of goal, only for the winger to poke wide when one-on-one with Scarpi.

Headed goal
Crespo then hooked a difficult chance off target when under pressure from Valencia goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyá, a miss which proved to be significant moments later when Bruno Saltor directed a back-header from Joaquín's free-kick over the back-pedalling Scarpi.

Crespo equaliser
Crespo was soon celebrating, however, after showing exquisite control to bring down a hopeful header upfield and beat Moyá. That lifted the home crowd and, full of verve, the Rossoblù began to force Valencia back. Villa squandered a chance to kill off Genoa from the spot but made amends in stoppage time after capitalising on Scarpi's miscued clearance.

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