By Lloyd Webb
Villarreal kept the heat on Arsenal’s Emirates Cup challenge with a 2-0 win against Lyon.
Bruno Soriano’s penalty and a Leo Baptistao goal inspired Villarreal’s victory, meaning Arsenal only require a draw against Wolfsburg to lift the trophy.
Soriano dispatched from the spot on the half-hour mark whereas Baptistao capped a good Villarreal move with a delicate finish just after the break.
SETTING THE SCENE
Villarreal were a front-runners for the Emirates Cup after winning their first game 2-1 and, if they scored five goals or more against Lyon, could have posed a serious threat to Arsenal’s cup challenge.
The French side rested a number of their players following the 6-0 loss to Arsenal as manager Hubert Fournier fielded a much-changed side.
Veteran midfielder Steed Malbranque was given the armband for Lyon. The Frenchman had previously played in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.
Aldo Kalulu had the first chance of the game in the 12th minute when he was slipped through by Malbranque, but Mathieu Gorgelin reacted well to produce a low save.
Malbranque then attempted a spectacular volley on the edge of the box eight minutes later that rattled the cross bar and had fans out of their seats.
On the half-hour mark Dylan Mboumbouni clattered Javier Espinosa during an aerial duel and Villarreal were awarded a penalty. Skipper Soriano made no mistake from the spot, giving the Spanish side the lead at the break.
It only took Baptistao nine minutes to double the lead after the interval when he latched onto Gerard Moreno’s through ball to apply a chipped finish over the onrushing Mathieu Gorgelin.
Yassine Benzia almost drew one back for Lyon as he lashed a near-post volley into the side-netting on the hour mark as the Ligue 1 side looked to gain a foothold in the game.
However, the best chance fell to Villarreal substitute Jonathan Pereira who beat the offside trap in the 90th minute but could not apply a finish as his side saw out the game.
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