Silva helps Valencia soar
David Silva reinforced Valencia's hold on third spot in La Liga after a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Last Updated: 15/04/10 10:53pm
Two goals from David Silva reinforced Valencia's hold on third spot in La Liga as a 2-0 victory dented Athletic Bilbao's UEFA Champions League hopes.
Sixth-placed Bilbao arrived at the Mestalla aware that a victory would move them to within one point of the top four with six games remaining in the season.
But Silva's strikes either side of half-time quashed those hopes as Valencia moved seven points clear of Real Mallorca, who sit fourth.
Unai Emery's Valencia enjoyed the majority of the first-half possession in characteristic pass-and-move style as Bilbao struggled to find their natural, direct football.
But the hosts were guilty of not making their dominance count, with a string of chances going begging in the opening half-an-hour.
Silva, though, ensured that Valencia took a lead into half-time as the Spaniard pounced 10 minutes before the interval when Bilbao failed to clear a scrappy corner.
Bilbao almost had an equaliser shortly after the break, but home goalkeeper Sanchez Cesar brilliantly tipped away Fernando Llorente's header.
The visitors were to rue Cesar's stop as in the 62nd minute Silva scored his second of the night when superbly controlling Joaquin's chipped pass before cutting inside the Bilbao defence to fire past Gorka Iraizoz and secure the victory.