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Uphill task in Rome
Villarreal went into this evening's return leg at the Olimpico knowing that they didn't have a mountain to climb, but a summit similar to K2 in size following last week's disastrous 0-4 defeat. That didn't automatically mean that Villarreal wouldn't have Roma up agaimst the ropes or that there wouldn't be some nerves at the Olimpico. With everything against them, the Submarine gave a lesson in profesionalism.
Far from making the two and half hour journey from Spain to go through the motions, Villarreal made amends for last week's disaster with 10 fringe players playing for pride - or maybe even a miracle. The team went ahead through Borré on the quarter hour and could have added to their tally were it not for the cross bar and a handful of saves from Alisson.
There were positives to take from this evening's game - the first, Roberto Soldado seems to be back at his sharpest following his knee problems. And this was probably his best performance for the club. The other good news was Santos Borré, who eveidently got the Pope's blessing while he was in the Eternal City. The Colombian netted his first goal since 29 September to crown an impressive individual display. Real Madrid, who visit the Estadio de la Cerámica on Sunday, should take heed.