Villarreal, April 12: Desperately late goals from Daniel Wass and Goncalo Guedes helped Valencia to a dramatic 3-1 win at local rivals Villarreal in their Europa League quarter-final first leg, as Los Che put one foot in the last four.
Javi Calleja's men recovered well after a woeful start and they went on to dominate most of the match, but they ran out of steam in the latter stages and Valencia finished them off ruthlessly with two goals right at the end.
Valencia put themselves ahead early on when Guedes reacted quickest to Dani Parejo's penalty being saved, but Villarreal soon took control and deservedly levelled with a spot-kick of their own – Santi Cazorla netting.
The visitors struggled to contend with the excellent Cazorla and Villarreal's dynamism in attack after half-time, but their imagination only went so far and they found themselves picked off, as Wass slammed a fine strike in before Guedes effectively ended the tie on the break in stoppage time.
ABRACADABRA pic.twitter.com/h4mxvxvX4p— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) April 11, 2019
Valencia made a positive start and were rewarded after just six minutes, as Santi Caseres tripped Guedes in the box and the Portugal international converted from close range after Parejo's penalty was saved by Andres Fernandez.
But Villarreal levelled just past the half-hour mark – Cazorla converting the match's second penalty in confident fashion after an off-balance Ezequiel Garay tripped Vicente Iborra.
Villarreal continued to pile the pressure on after the break and Samuel Chukwueze twice went close.
His first effort in the 56th minute forced Neto into a smart save down to his left, before the Brazilian then rushed off his line and read Chukwueze's attempted lob after a ball over the defence.
But Villarreal visibly tired and Valencia capitalised in the 90th minute, as Wass met Jose Gaya's low cross just inside the area with a controlled half-volley into the top-left corner.
Los Che arguably put the tie to bed in the third minute of stoppage time – Guedes beating Fernandez when one-on-one after collecting an excellent cross from former Villarreal star Denis Cheryshev.