DAVID SMITH - Friday, April 8, 2011
Oguchi Onyewu made a return to Twente's defense after several games on the bench, however may be riding pine again in the near future as the team was shellacked by Villarreal in the Europa League quarterfinal.
Nilmar hit the Dutch team for a pair of goal on either side of the half, and adding insult to injury, New Jersey-hatched striker Giuseppe Rossi threw an egg in the face of the Twente defense for a second half score bringing his personal tally in games against Onyewu to three after their one other meeting two years ago in the Confederations Cup group stage.
The American centerback got the start in the heart of the defense alongside team captain Peter Wisgerhof for his first action in weeks, and the two did their parts to keep the Spanish team at bay for the first few minutes until everything began to fall apart midway through the first half.
A Borja Valero corner was flicked on by Jose Manuel Catala to Carlos Marchena dead center in front of goal, and having apparently developed the superpower of invisibility as no Twente player had even attempted to cover him, the longtime Spanish national teamer headed the ball into the net for the lead.
The Yellow Submarine nearly doubled the lead just past the half-hour mark when Santi Cazorla split Onyewu and Roberto Rosales with a short through-ball to Nilmar as he ran into the right side of the area, however the Brazilian's lob over keeper Nikolay Mihailov was off the right upright.
They succeeded in getting a second two minutes before the pause, as Cazorla slid a pass right past Peter Wisgerhof and Dwight Tiendalli, who had clumsily tripped over each other and were utterly useless to defend from their backsides, to Valero for a low strike which flew several yards between Onyewu and Mihailov for 2-0.
Thoroughly unsatisfied with the 2-0 deficit, Twente did their best to make sure that Villarreal would net another just before the break, with Wisgerhof momentarily forgetting which jersey was on his back and heading on a throw-in deep in his own territory directly into the path of Nilmar, who this time was on-target with his low header.
Whatever words of encouragement Twente coach Michel Preud'homme could muster during the halftime break clearly did wonders for the team, as they continued their climb to new heights of futility in the second half.
In the 55th minute, Italian international Rossi cut through the Twente defense like a chainsaw through butter and, with both Onyewu and Douglas Franco choosing to practice their backpedaling skills in lieu of closing down on the attacker, he nailed a 22-yard blast just inside the upper left corner in a nearly identical strike to his first goal against the lumbering Onyewu and his American compatriots in South Africa nearly two years before.
Rossi was not yet finished humiliating his Dutch opponents, ending a nice counter sequence by the Spanish team by dropping a short pass to Nilmar at the top edge of the 18-yard box, which the Brazilian controlled before turning around his marking defender and firing through Mihailov's hands for their fifth goal in the 81st minute.
Twente did pick up their undoubtedly deserved green ribbon in second-half injury time, with Wisgerhof hitting a cross from the right side which former Austrian Bundesliga goal-scoring sensation Marc Janko headed in to earn his obligatory pat on the back.
The squalid display all but assured Twente can concentrate solely on avoiding further embarrassing themselves in their league campaign, as they would need a 4-0 victory or better in Enschede in the return leg in one week. They currently hold a two-point lead over PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie race, who suffered a similarly humiliating 4-1 defeat in their Europa League first leg game to Portuguese team Benfica in a rather exposing night for Dutch teams.