VILLARREAL have one foot in the Europa League semi-finals following a comprehensive 5-1 first-leg thrashing of FC TWENTE.
The Spanish side went ahead in the 22nd minute when Jose Catala glanced on a Borja Valero set-piece for Carlos Marchena to head home, and Valero then doubled their advantage when he raced onto a Santi Cazorla through-ball and produced a cool finish.
Nilmar then pounced on a poor attempted clearance to make it 3-0 to Villarreal on the stroke of half-time as the Spanish side threatened to run riot.
Giuseppe Rossi’s superb curling effort extended their lead even further 10 minutes after the restart, and he then turned provider for Nilmar before Marc Janko netted a late consolation for well-beaten Twente.
Meanwhile, a Falcao-inspired FC PORTO romped to the same scoreline in the first leg of their quarter-final tie with SPARTAK MOSCOW.
A heavy score did not look to be on the cards in the first half as Falcao netted the only goal of the opening period in the 37th minute.
It then took until the 65th minute for Silvestre Varela to double their advantage, but a comfortable victory was looking likely once Maicon made it 3-0 five minutes later.
Inside a minute Kirill Kombarov gave the visitors some hope, but that was extinguished as Falcao completed his hat-trick with two goals in the final six minutes.
Elsewhere, BENFICA were also big winners on the night as an Eduardo Salvio double helped them to a 4-1 win over PSV EINDHOVEN.
Marcus Berg almost headed PSV into the lead against the run of play, but the Portuguese side’s dominance was finally rewarded with the opening goal when Pablo Aimar finished coolly after good build-up play from Gaitan and Fabio Coentrao.
Salvio doubled their advantage moments before half-time, and he then extended their lead further with a superb solo effort, beating Erik Pieters and Marcelo before firing home.
Zakaria Labyad pulled one back for the visitors 10 minutes from time, but Javier Saviola ensured Benfica would take a three-goal lead into the second leg by making it 4-1 deep into added time.
And finally, BRAGA held ten-man DYNAMO KIEV to a 1-1 draw in Ukraine.
Andriy Yarmolenko handed Kiev the lead after just six minutes, only for Oleh Gusev’s own goal to provide Braga with the equaliser.
And if Kiev are to reach the semi-finals they must get a result in Portugal without star striker Andriy Shevchenko, who will be banned following his sending off.