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Villarreal chase improbable Porto dream

The situation looks desperate for Villarreal CF as they bid to overturn a 5-1 semi-final first-leg defeat to reach the UEFA Europa League final at the expense of FC Porto.

Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido ©Getty Images

The situation looks desperate for Villarreal CF as they bid to overturn a 5-1 semi-final first-leg defeat to reach the UEFA Europa League final at the expense of FC Porto.

• The Yellow Submarine led at half-time in the opener thanks to a header from Cani, but Falcao levelled from the penalty spot four minutes after the interval and Fredy Guarín made it 2-1, before Falcao struck three more goals for the Dragons.

• The defeat was Villarreal's heaviest in their 105 games in European competition.

• Only three sides have recovered from four-goal first-leg deficits to win UEFA club competition ties:
1) FC La Chaux-de-Fonds 6-2 Leixões SC
Leixões SC 5-0 FC La Chaux-de-Fonds
1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round
2) Queens Park Rangers FC 6-2 FK Partizan
FK Partizan 4-0 Queens Park Rangers FC
1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
3) VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 Real Madrid CF
Real Madrid CF 4-0 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
1985/86 UEFA Cup third round

Previous meetings
• The sides have been paired together for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Porto have now played 35 games against Spanish clubs in UEFA competition and their record reads W12 D5 L18 (W5 D2 L10 in Spain).

• Porto have not lost on their last five trips to Spain, recording three wins and two draws.

• Porto lost 2-1 to Villarreal's near neighbours Valencia CF in the 2004 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco; Villarreal's Carlos Marchena started for Valencia in that game.

• Marchena had previously spent the 2000/01 season at SL Benfica, recording a win, a draw and a defeat in three matches against Porto.

• Porto have met Spanish sides in two previous UEFA competition semi-finals. They lost 3-0 to FC Barcelona in the last four of the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League, contested over one leg at the Camp Nou, but beat RC Deportivo La Coruña 1-0 on aggregate in 2003/04 en route to winning the competition under José Mourinho, when current coach André Villas-Boas was part of the technical staff.

• Villarreal's Joan Capdevila was an unused substitute for Depor in both legs of that fixture.

• The Yellow Submarine have now contested three matches against Portuguese opponents. They previously drew 1-1 at home against Benfica in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage before triumphing 1-0 away, with midfield stalwart Marcos Senna scoring the only goal.

Match background
• Porto have won their last five European games and racked up five goals in each of their last three fixtures, having posted a 10-3 aggregate quarter-final success against FC Spartak Moskva.

• Villarreal went into the first leg unbeaten in eight European encounters – seven wins and a draw – since losing 1-0 at PAOK FC in the group stage.

• Porto have lost only one of their last nine European home games, going down 1-0 against Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 32. They have won seven of the other eight matches in that sequence.

• Villarreal have won all seven of their European home fixtures this season, scoring 20 goals at El Madrigal and conceding just four.

• Porto's successes this season owe much to their magnificent away form; they have won all seven of their games on the road since the appointment of coach Villas-Boas.

• Porto are the competition's top scorers with 34 goals since the start of the group stage. They have proved more dangerous after the interval, plundering 23 of those strikes, with ten coming between the 76th minute and the final whistle.

• Villarreal's 24 efforts since the start of the group stage have been split fairly evenly between both halves. They have yet to register in the opening 15 minutes of a game but have made up for that with ten goals between the 31st minute and the half-time interval.

• Villarreal are making only their second appearance in a major European semi-final; they lost 1-0 over two legs to Arsenal FC in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League last four.

Team facts
• Falcao's quartet of first-leg goals moved him on to 15 in the competition this term, equalling Jürgen Klinsmann's record for the most goals in a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League campaign attained when FC Bayern München won the 1995/96 edition.

• This tie features the competition's two leading marksmen, with Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi having notched ten goals of his own.

• Porto goalkeeper Helton and his Villarreal counterpart Diego López are the only players to have featured in all 1170 minutes of the UEFA Europa League campaign since the start of the group stage.

• In addition to Helton, João Moutinho and Hulk have featured in all 13 of Porto's games, while Borja Valero, Bruno Soriano and Rossi have contested Villarreal's 13 fixtures alongside goalkeeper López.

• Porto's Falcao and Fernando Belluschi played with Villarreal's Marco Ruben and Mateo Musacchio at CA River Plate in 2007. Porto's Walter and Villarreal's Nilmar were team-mates at Brazilian outfit SC Internacional from 2007 from 2009.

• Both Porto and Villarreal began the season in the UEFA Europa League group stage. Benfica and Braga, the other semi-finalists, both kicked off their campaigns in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The final will thus be played between sides from both competitions.

• There was a similar situation in last season's inaugural UEFA Europa League showpiece, when UEFA Champions League group stage contenders Club Atlético de Madrid overcame UEFA Europa League group stage challengers Fulham FC in the decider.

• Should Porto progress, they will take on Liga rivals Benfica or Braga in the final. Seven UEFA Cup finals were contested by sides representing the same national association.
1971/72: Tottenham Hotspur FC 3-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (agg)
1979/80: Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (agg; Eintracht won on away goals)
1989/90: Juventus 3-1 ACF Fiorentina (agg)
1990/91: FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 AS Roma (agg)
1994/95: Parma FC 2-1 Juventus (agg)
1997/98: FC Internazionale Milano 3-0 S.S. Lazio
2006/07: Sevilla FC 2-2 RCD Espanyol (aet; Sevilla won 3-1 on penalties)

• Three Portuguese teams have made it through to the semi-finals, but this is not unprecedented. Indeed, all four 1979/80 UEFA Cup semi-finalists represented the same nation, West Germany.

• Villarreal's final goal against FC Twente in the quarter-finals was their 100th in what was their 56th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League game. The five they conceded at Porto took them past 50 surrendered in the competition; they have now shipped 52 goals in 57 matches.

• Porto's five efforts last week launched them past the 450 mark in UEFA club competition. Their tally stands at 453 in 296 European outings.

• The overall winners will be the nominal home side in the UEFA Europa League final at the Dublin Arena on 18 May.

• Villarreal have won both of their UEFA club competition penalty shoot-outs, beating Torino FC (4-3 at home) and Club Atlético de Madrid (3-1 away) in UEFA Intertoto Cup games in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

• Porto have been involved in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs, with their earliest a 5-3 loss in Porto against UC Sampdoria in a 1994/95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final. They then beat Colombia's CD Once Caldas 8-7 after a 0-0 draw in Yokahama, Japan, to claim the 2004 European/South American Cup, and succumbed 4-1 from the spot at home against FC Schalke 04 to lose a 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.