Villarreal too good for Valencia
Giovani dos Santos scored twice, set up another goal and missed a penalty as Villarreal beat local rivals Valencia 4-1.
Last Updated: 27/10/13 6:57pm
Giovani dos Santos scored twice, set up another goal and missed a penalty as promoted Villarreal put local rivals Valencia to the sword in a 4-1 drubbing on Sunday afternoon.
Only Real Madrid have avoided defeat at El Madrigal so far this season and Valencia could not follow suit as Villarreal scored twice in the opening 22 minutes through Ikechukwu Uche and Hernan Perez before Giovani made it 3-0 just after the break.
Valencia gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Ricardo Costa pulled a goal back but Giovani's late second wrapped up a convincing victory for the Yellow Submarine, who move to within two points of third-placed Madrid.
Valencia claimed their fifth win in seven competitive matches on Thursday when they thrashed St Gallen 5-1 in the Europa League but the confidence gained from that result was soon punctured as Villarreal made a flying start.
Uche headed a good chance wide in the 16th minute but Valencia were not so fortunate 60 seconds later when the Nigeria international got on the end of Giovani's cross to nod past Vicente Guaita.
Another header, this time from Perez, saw Villarreal double their lead five minutes later and it might have been 3-0 before the break if the Paraguay international had managed to beat Guaita again with another close-range header.
Villarreal did not have to wait long to extend their lead after the interval, though, and it was Giovani who was at the centre of the action.
The visitors thought they had escaped when Guaita tipped Giovani's penalty - awarded for Jeremy Mathieu's foul on Uche after Giovani's header had come back off the post - behind for a corner.
But from the flag-kick, Uche nodded down Cani's cross and Giovani slotted home into the roof of the net.
Valencia, without a win at El Madrigal since 2007, gained a lifeline back into the match when Costa headed home Dani Parejo's inswinging corner in the 62nd minute, but that was a rare moment of joy in an otherwise miserable afternoon for the visitors.
Guaita tipped Mario Gaspar's header onto the bar as Villarreal sought a fourth goal, while Sergio Asenjo produced a similarly good save at the other end from Costa's header as Valencia tried to build some pressure.
The next goal was likely to be crucial, and it was Villarreal who deservedly got it with Mexico international Giovani curling home a brilliant 25-yard shot to seal the win.