Gerard Moreno scored his competition-leading 10th goal to set Villarreal on their way to a commanding 4-0 victory at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Friday.
The Spain striker was set up by Dani Parejo after Parejo stole possession from Celta’s Denis Suarez near the area and played Moreno clear to open the scoring in the fifth minute at Balaidos Stadium.
A poor pass by Celta Vigo goalkeeper Ruben Blanco led to the visitors doubling their advantage in the 14th. Manuel Trigueros intercepted the pass and crossed for Moi Gomez to volley home.
Blanco was again at fault in the 19th when he let Parejo’s cross from a free kick bounce off the turf and under him before reaching the net.
Fernando Nino added a final goal just over the half-hour mark.
Gerard said after the win: “We were brilliant in the first half. It was an immense performance and we should be very happy.”
Villarreal rose past Barcelona into third place before Barcelona visit Granada on Saturday.
It was eighth-placed Celta’s third loss of the week, marking a sharp downturn after they won five and drew one under new coach Eduardo Coudet.
They lost at Real Madrid last weekend and were embarrassed 5-2 at third-tier Ibiza in the Copa del Rey midweek.
Defender Jeison Murillo said: “The game was gone from us in about 15 minutes. We have to take a good look at ourselves.”