Santi Cazorla, returning to his former club after a €21m move to Malaga last summer, put the Costa del Sol side ahead on 65 minutes after controlling Isco’s pass and drilling a low left-footed shot past Diego Lopez. However, Miguel Angel Lotina’s side were handed a lifeline on 83 minutes when goalkeeper Carlos Kameni brought down Hernan Perez in the box and received a straight red card, Marcos Senna tucking away the resultant penalty to level the score.
The Yellow Submarine then sealed an unlikely comeback with the winner four minutes into stoppage time, Perez firing home from the edge of the area after substitute keeper Ruben could only palm away a corner into his path.
The win sees Villarreal remain just one place above the drop zone, but crucially the eight-point gap between themselves and Real Zaragoza in 18th means they should need just six points from the final six games to avoid relegation.
Lotina was understandably delighted in the Press room afterwards and said the victory ‘had taken several kilos in weight off his players’ backs’.
“This is a very important three points and takes away a great burden,” beamed the 54-year-old. “The team needed a lucky break and we had to get back to winning ways at home. To do so this heroically has given us a great boost and the dressing room is very happy.”