Villarreal must overturn a 1-0 deficit carried over from the first leg of their UEFA Cup last-32 tie against Zenit St Petersburg at the Madrigal stadium in Castellon this evening...
Pavel Pogrebniak scored only goal of the first leg following some comedy defending by the visiting Spanish side, but Villarreal are an impressive outfit and have enough European pedigree to be considered favourites to go through to the next round.
Pellegrini’s side have only failed to score at home in two European fixtures in their history - drawing 0-0 against both Manchester United and Arsenal during the 2005/06 Champions League, when Villarreal reached the semi-finals. Villarreal have now played five games against Russian opposition, winning two, drawing one and losing two. They have won both of their home games against Russian sides without conceding a goal.
Viillarreal striker Guille Franco feels that his side need to take a cautious approach in a bid to avoid the opposition grabbing a vital away goal. The Mexican said “This is a very important game. What we must not do is take the field obsessed with scoring lots of goals as this could make us disorganised and cost us dearly"
Franco added that "The key is not to concede any goals, because this will make things very complicated”
The aggregate winners will meet the victors of the tie between Olympique de Marseille and FC Spartak Moskva in the Round of 16 on 6 and 12/13 March, playing the second leg at home. Marseille lead 3-0 after the first leg.
Villarreal have no major injury concerns or suspensions and Manuel Pellegrini has been able to include Marcos Senna in the squad after the Spanish international midfielder recovered from the injury that kept him out of the first leg.