In-form Villarreal crushes Granada

Ruben ”Cani” Gracia set up two goals for Villarreal in a 3-0 win over Granada on Friday as it provisionally rose past Real Madrid and into third place in the Spanish league.

The Yellow Submarine had experienced few problems on their return to the top flight until they were beaten at Real Betis last weekend.

They found the best cure to be on the field, though, and goals from Bruno, Giovani Dos Santos and Tomas Pina were more than enough to see off Granada. The Andalucians were impressive against Athletic Bilbao on Monday but had little answer in this one, finding themselves under pressure from the moment Pina cracked over with just 42 seconds gone.

Giovani then went close with a shot which was blocked in a crowded penalty area, before Jonathan Pereira was also denied. Yacine Brahimi briefly threatened for the visitors but Sergio Asenjo was in place to deal with his shot, but the traffic remained largely one way as Mateo Musacchio and then Pereira again tried their luck.

The pressure finally told in the 30th minute as Bruno opened the scoring. He took in a pass from Ruben Cani and curled in from 18 yards to give his side their just rewards.

Pereira was denied a second by a brilliant save from Fernandez Roberto, but another goal did arrive three minutes after the half-time break as Giovani nodded in a Pereira cross from six yards. Ivan Riki tried to mount an away response but could only skew wide from close in but any thoughts off getting a positive result ended with eight minutes to go as Pina finished off a Cani cross.

”Our team is giving off good vibrations to start this season,” said Dos Santos, who joined the promoted Villarreal from Mallorca this summer. ”We’re happy but we need to keep working hard to keep this going.”

Granada entered the game tied for the league’s best defense with only five goals allowed through seven rounds. But Villarreal’s flowing attack had little trouble picking it apart, while Granada was limited to a pair of shots by substitute strikers Ivan ”Riki” Rico-Sanchez and Odion Ighalo in the 57th and 58th.

The Associated Press was used in this report.