African All Stars

Danjuma scores brace to set new mark as Villarreal defeat Valencia

8:35 AM WAT 20/04/2022
Arnaut Danjuma of Villarreal and Nigeria.
The Super Eagles prospect scored a quick double in the first half to help the Yellow Submarine pick up their 14th top-flight win of the season

Nigeria prospect Arnaut Danjuma was on target as Villarreal defeated Valencia 2-0 in a La Liga fixture at Estadio de la Ceramica on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a Dutch father and a Nigerian mother, put the Yellow Submarine ahead in the 10th minute before he wrapped up his brace in the 17th minute.

It was Villarreal who looked the better side in the opening stages and they took a deserved lead when Danjuma stepped up to convert from the penalty spot after Giovani Lo Celso was brought down inside the box.

Danjuma took up the task and sent Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen the wrong way as his effort hit the upright of the left post and into the net. Villarreal doubled their lead seven minutes later and it was Danjuma who slotted past Cillessen after a great pass from Juan Foyth.

In scoring the double, Danjuma became the sixth-fastest player in Villarreal history to reach 10 goals in the top-flight in a single season.

The players who achieved the feat quicker are Giuseppe Rossi after (16 matches), Nigeria’s Ikechukwu Uche from (16 matches), Diego Forlan (19), Luciano Vietto (20), and Sonny Anderson (22).

Meanwhile, against Valencia, Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze, who scored the goal that eliminated Bayern Munich from the Champions League, was introduced at the start of the second half for Yeremi Pino while Senegal’s Boulaye Dia replaced Danjuma in the 71st minute.

Danjuma has so far managed 23 appearances for Villarreal raking in 1,476 minutes of play. He has been selected in the starting XI in 17 of these appearances across their 33 fixtures and has been used as a substitute on six occasions.

In last season's EFL Championship, Danjuma played in 35 games for Bournemouth, scored 17 goals, and provided seven assists. Prior to joining Villarreal in August 2021, Danjuma made 49 league appearances in total at Bournemouth, scoring 17 goals and providing seven assists.

With Villarreal set to face Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League, manager Unai Emery was impressed with the team’s overall display against Valencia and revealed their readiness to tackle the Reds in the first leg contest at Anfield on April 27.

"Valencia had the Copa del Rey match very close. It’s normal they have to manage the effort to get there at their best. From there, we wanted the three points, we weren’t thinking about Liverpool,” the former Arsenal manager told the club’s official website after the game.

“We managed the effort in Munich and Getafe to face the Liverpool game in the best possible conditions. We had players who were in perfect condition to perform.

“The Champions League is a very exciting journey, we have to prepare ourselves to compete to the maximum, but throughout the Champions League, we have been thinking that maybe the end was coming and we will always have La Liga.”

After facing Liverpool, Villarreal will return to league action with a trip to face Alaves at Mendizorrotza Stadium on Saturday.