Valencia went top of La Liga after another convincing 3-0 victory over bottom side Cordoba at the Mestalla.
Paco Alcacer scored for the fourth league game on the bounce, while Jose Gaya and Sofiane Feghouli were also on target for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.
Valencia rise to the top
They now sit at the summit of the Primeira Division ahead of Barcelona on goals scored, and condemned Cordoba to the foot taking their tally of goals conceded into double figures in the process.
Santo made three changes to the side that won at Getafe by the same scoreline on Monday. He handed out two debuts in the process, as World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi and Benfica loanee Joao Cancelo replaced Antonio Barragan and Ruben Vezo in defence. Rodrigo missed out after being sent off at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, with Feghouli coming into the attacking trio behind Alcacer.
Albert Ferrer rang five alterations from the side that were beaten by Sevilla on Sunday. Iago Bouzan replaced Aleksandar Pantic in the centre of defence, while Abel, Aritz Lopez Garai and Fede Vico also came into the side with ineligible Valencia loanee Fede Cartabia, Patrick Ekeng and Fidel making way. Nabil Ghilas was the other change as he replaced Mike Havenaar as the spearhead in attack.
Almost a perfect start
The hosts almost got off to the perfect start just 90 seconds into the contest. Pablo Piatti sent a cross over from the left and the ball just evaded Feghouli before captain Daniel Parejo dragged it just wide of the target.
Alcacer then headed just off target from Gaya’s cross before he gave his side the lead midway through the half. A lovely move from El Tri saw Cancelo find Feghouli down the right, and the Algerian’s pacy cross was powerfully glanced into the far corner by the in-form Spanish international.
Cancelo fired narrowly wide of the post two minutes later but Valencia doubled their lead when Parejo’s attempted cross ricocheted kindly for Gaya, who drilled the ball the home inside the near post.
Quiet night for Alves
Diego Alves was rarely threatened at the other end though he was sharp when called upon, as he got his fingers on Fausto Rossi’s snap shot from outside the area to tip it round the post.
Carles Gil was introduced for the second half and he looked lively from his introduction. He just poked the ball wide of the target before his corner saw Nicolas Otamendi’s header well kept out by Martinez Juan Carlos.
Andre Gomes fired into the side-netting from distance after an error from the Cordoba keeper, before Gil was involved again in the third goal which killed off the visitors 17 minutes from time. He played a very well-timed through ball for Feghouli who finished brilliantly across the keeper via the post.
Valencia went on the hunt for more as Gomes was just off target again, while Alcacer should have at least tested Juan Carlos from Gil’s cross after some great movement to escape his marker.
Yet another comprehensive performance and attacking masterclass from El Tri and they will look to continue their good run at Real Sociedad at the weekend. If they keep up their current display levels then there’s no reason they cannot challenge for the title or European places at the very least.
The only issues that come into question are how they will perform when faced with the likes of Barcelona and the two Madrids, and whether their lack of experience will prevent them when it matters or not.