Rossi stars as Villarreal progress
Giuseppe Rossi struck twice and set up a third as Villarreal progressed through to the knockout stages of the Europa League with a deserved 3-0 victory over in-form Dinamo Zagreb at El Madrigal.
The Yellow Submarine started the penultimate round of fixtures in third place in Group D, but this result, combined with Club Brugge's late equaliser at PAOK, means they are now sure of a place in the last 32.
Rossi led the way with two goals, the first from the penalty spot, while Marco Ruben was also on the scoresheet.
Villarreal also missed a late penalty through Marcos Senna in an incident that saw visiting defender Igor Biscan sent off, but it mattered little to the Spaniards, who progressed through thanks to Club Brugge's draw in Greece.
Villarreal rode their luck early on, Fatos Beciraj seeing a shot deflected onto the post with Diego Lopez completely wrong-footed, before a mixture of poor finishing from Beciraj and great goalkeeping from Lopez let the hosts off the hook again.
Beciraj really should have done better with that opportunity with the goal at his mercy, and it was all downhill after that for the Croatians, who had rattled off 11 wins and one draw in their previous 12 games.
Villarreal took the lead in the 25th minute when Rossi slotted home from the spot after Dinamo goalkeeper Ivan Kelava had been adjudged to have brought down Ruben inside the area.
The home side had several chances to increase their lead, Kelava denying Rossi and Cani - who also hit the post - before the Spaniards made it 2-0 through Ruben, who latched onto a fine flick from Rossi to slide a low shot past Kelava.
That was Ruben's last contribution as he was immediately replaced by veteran midfielder Senna, who almost made it 3-0 straight away when his brilliant 30-yard drive drew an equally good flying save out of Kelava.
Juan Carlos Garrido's side would get their third in the 81st minute when Rossi picked up a lay-off from Nilmar before drilling a low shot past Kelava from the edge of the box.
Rossi then made way for Jefferson Montero, meaning the Italy international missed the chance to net his hat-trick in the 86th minute when Villarreal were awarded their second penalty, Biscan earning himself a red card for handball.
Senna was the man who took responsibility, but the Spain international's penalty was superbly saved by Kelava, although it was a Pyrrhic victory for the visiting custodian as Dinamo were left needing to beat PAOK in their last match to reach the next phase.
Villarreal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.