'Submarine' still on course for victory, insists Cazorla

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The midfielder Santi Cazorla insists Villarreal are still more than capable of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League despite last night's home draw with Arsenal, recalling their success against Panathinaikos in the previous round.

Just as they did against the Gunners, Villarreal could record only a 1-1 first-leg draw in front of their own fans in their last 16 encounter with Panathinaikos and that left them with a job to do in Athens. However, the "Yellow Submarine" stunned the Greek side with a 2-1 victory that booked their place in the quarter-finals, and Cazorla sees no reason why his side cannot repeat that feat in London.

"It's been a shame but we still have our chances, the tie is open and, although the 1-1 scoreline favours them, we've already shown that we are capable of scoring away from home, as we showed in Athens," said Cazorla, who was watching from the sidelines last night after suffering a season-ending broken leg at the weekend. "The first half was ours, we controlled the ball and we got ahead, but in the second half they [Arsenal] were better."

The Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna, who opened the scoring with a stunning long-range strike early on, told the television channel Antena 3: "Arsenal have the advantage, because they have scored an away goal but by winning there we will be in the semi-finals."

The Villarreal president Fernando Roig said: "The tie remains open and we have our chances. The result means we have to score at least once in London but we always go out to win so, although it's difficult, the tie is open. These are the Champions League quarter-finals and everything is open, as has happened with Manchester United, who had been clear favourites against Porto."

Uefa will await reports from the referee and match delegates before deciding whether to investigate the throwing of objects by Villarreal supporters towards the Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas during the match at El Madrigal.

Fabregas, jeered throughout by the home fans, was taking a corner in the second half, shortly after a clash with Sebastian Eguren, when what appeared to be paper boxes were hurled in his direction from the stands.

Although the Spain international did not seem to be struck directly, he removed one of the objects from the pitch, showing it to the Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo before then taking the corner. The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, said: "I saw that there were coins or boxes thrown at him. Certainly, Uefa will make an inquiry and make the right decisions."

The Gunners battled back to secure a 1-1 draw with a fine overhead kick from Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who had been set up by Fabregas on 66 minutes.

On the home front, Arsenal have been asked by the Football Association to provide their observations following the claim that Fabregas spat at the Hull assistant manager Brian Horton. Hull have provided their evidence to the FA following the alleged incident, which is said to have occurred following the sixth-round FA Cup tie between the teams at the Emirates Stadium on 17 March.

The FA has examined Hull's evidence and now wants to hear from Arsenal and Fabregas, giving them a week to respond, after which the association will consider its course of action.

Fabregas, the Arsenal captain, who did not play in the match, was accused of spitting at Horton in the tunnel after the match, which Arsenal won 2-1. The Spaniard "categorically" denied the offence following the claims from Hull officials.

The Hull manager, Phil Brown, said on the night of the match: "I was there and I witnessed it, he spat at my assistant manager down the tunnel. That is their club captain, hopefully he is proud of himself. He spat at his feet."

Comments