La Liga

Porto Stun Villarreal In Europa League Action

Villarral were stunned by four second-half goals from Falcoa as they lost 5-1 to Porto in the Europa League semi-finals.

The second hand collapse by Villarreal was made even more shocking by the way that they played in the first half.

Time and again they punched holes in the Porto defence, the gap between Nicolás Otamendi and left-back Alvaro Pereira proving a particular sweet spot. Nilmar should have done better than fire straight at Helton on seven minutes and it took a brilliant block from Rolando, at full stretch, to deny Giuseppe Rossi.

Porto looked to have ridden the storm (and their luck) when Cani struck. Valero danced around a couple of half-hearted challenges on that favoured right flank and fed the lively Nilmar, whose fine near-post cross was expertly glanced in by Cani.

Within four minutes of the restart, Porto, whose had one shot of goal in the first half, were level. Guarín did the damage, prising open the wall of yellow with a pass that allowed Falcao to touch around Diego López and draw the penalty. He made no mistake from the spot.

Twelve minutes later Guarín completed the turnaround, heading in the rebound after his initial left-footed effort had been diverted onto the upright by López. It swiftly went from bad to worse for the visitors as Falcao tapped in Hulk’s cross before sealing his third Europa League hat-trick of the season with a diving header after Guarin’s free-kick.

Still there was time for a fourth with a towering 90th-minute header. While Villarreal have a 100% record in the competition this season at El Madrigal, where these sides meet again next Thursday, they require more than a routine victory.