Swansea City’s first game in Europe for 22 years was well worth the wait, as they demolished Valencia 3-0 in their opening UEFA Europa League match at the Mestalla.
Goals from Wilfried Bony, Michu and stunning a Jonathan de Guzman free-kick sealed a famous victory for the Swans who produced a dominant performance to outplay the Spanish giants.
Miroslav Dukic’s side have struggled so far this season, and faced an uphill struggle from the tenth minute onwards this evening when Adil Rami was sent off for a last-man challenge on Bony.
Ironically in the Swans’ first ever game against La Liga opposition, Michael Laudrup named six Spanish players in his starting 11 – two more than their opponents.
One of them Angel Rangel captained the side for the night in the absence of Ashley Williams, who was one of five changes to the side that drew with Liverpool on Monday.
He was replaced in the centre of defence by Jordi Amat, and Dwight Tiendalli replaced Ben Davies at left-back.
Jose Canas and Jonathan de Guzman came into the centre of midfield for Jonjo Shelvey and Leon Britton, while Alejandro Pozuelo stepped into Wayne Routledge’s shoes on the left wing.
Bony had already caused the Valencia defence problems, before his strength was too much for Rami who had no choice but to haul down the powerful striker resulting in a straight red card.
The visitors were always going to be on top from there on and they took a deserved lead just four minutes after the dismissal. Pozuelo ran at the hosts with venom and played in Michu, who showed great awareness to square the ball across the area for Bony to fire home.
Nathan Dyer should have doubled the advantage soon after as he pulled his shot wide of the far post, while Bony also narrowly missed the target from just outside the area.
It was their talisman Michu who made it two on 58 minutes following some crisp link-up play between de Guzman and Pozuelo, resulting in a cool finish from the right foot of last season’s top scorer.
Four minutes later and the Swans were in dreamland and the demolition was completed, as de Guzman rattled in an excellent free-kick from fully 30-yards out to put the game beyond the Spaniards.
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