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Villarreal find extra gear to kill off Zürich

Villarreal CF 4-1 FC Zürich
Luciano Vietto, Bruno Soriano and Giovani dos Santos struck after the break as the Group A leaders accelerated to a comfortable win.

Villarreal rejoice after opening the scoring against Zürich
Villarreal rejoice after opening the scoring against Zürich ©AFP/Getty Images

Ninth consecutive UEFA Europa League home win for Villarreal
Marco Schönbächler sends Zürich in at the break holding a 1-1 draw
Luciano Vietto, Bruno Soriano and Giovani dos Santos end resistance
Villarreal two points clear atop Group A; Zürich remain bottom
Next games: Zürich v Villarreal (6 November)

Villarreal CF produced a complete performance to see off FC Zürich, with Apollon Limassol FC's loss at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach enabling them to open a two-point lead at the top of UEFA Europa League Group A.

The hosts wasted no time in demonstrating their superiority, moving the ball around quickly and taking the lead after just six minutes through 33-year-old midfielder Cani, who linked up superbly with his attacking team-mates to take advantage of Zürich's three-man defence.

Both Zürich and Villarreal then had chances to score, but while the 2003/04 and 2010/11 semi-finalists dominated, the visitors got back in the game just before the break. Alain Nef's header was saved by Juan Carlos to give Zürich a corner, from which Yassine Chikhaoui set up Marco Schönbächler to level.

Villarreal had two great chances to resume the lead at the start of the second half, but Javier Espinosa failed to hit the target, and then David Da Costa squandered a great opportunity. However, the hosts eventually put the game out of sight in the space of four frantic minutes. Javier Espinosa supplied the killer pass for Lucas Vietto to finish, and Bruno Soriano made it 3-1 with an amazing free-kick.

With chances coming regularly, substitute Giovani dos Santos scored the fourth on 78 minutes after another stylish Villarreal move.