Valencia vs Rayo Vallecano. Spanish La Liga.
Saturday 13 December 2014 20:14, UK
Valencia returned to winning ways in style by producing a blistering first-half performance to see off Rayo Vallecano 3-0 at the Mestalla.
Sofiane Feghouli opened the scoring for Nuno's side after 13 minutes and then struck again from close range on 35 minutes, with Pablo Piatti hitting the third immediately after.
The only blemish for the hosts was Andre Gomes getting sent off in the second half for two bookable offences, but overall this was a convincing display from a Valencia side who had last won a league game at the start of November.
They began the match with the explosiveness that characterised their impressive start to the season.
Just four minutes were on the clock when Antonio Barragan dribbled into the area and tumbled to the ground after a challenge from Jorge Morcillo, but his appeals for a penalty were ignored.
Less than 10 minutes later the full-back was causing Rayo's defence more havoc.
He found space on the right wing and lofted in a cross for Feghouli to nod home at the near post after getting ahead of his marker.
Once ahead Valencia set about trying to get a second.
Rodrigo de Paul nearly provided it. Rayo's left-hand side was again exposed, allowing the Argentinian to get into the box and shoot past a stranded Cristian Alvarez, but Antonio Amaya hacked the ball off the line.
A minute later Piatti arrived at the far post to volley a cross from the opposite side at goal, but the ball crept just wide of the near post.
Rayo had suffered early on, but soon started to get forward. Gael Kakuta brought the ball forward and threaded the ball through to Alberto Bueno on the edge of the area, the forward shooting just wide of the near post.
The visitors were presented with an even better chance a few minutes later. Diego Alves miscontrolled a back pass and Leo Baptistao took the ball off him only to scuff his attempted back heel to Raul Baena and fail to capitalise on a golden opportunity to draw level.
Paco Jemez's side were made to pay for their profligacy and soon conceded two goals in the space of a minute.
Alvaro Negredo headed a corner towards goal and Alvarez could only parry the ball to the feet of Feghouli, who scuffed it over the line for his third goal of the season.
Valencia struck again immediately from Rayo's kick-off. Piatti spotted a large gap between Rayo's two centre-halves around the centre circle and raced through it, sprinting towards goal and holding off a challenge to slip the ball past Alvarez.
Rayo nearly pulled a goal back at the start of the second half. Baptistao went for goal from 20 yards and forced Alves into a save and the goalkeeper got back up to turn away a soft shot on the rebound from Javier Aquino.
But the rest of the game was a formality for Valencia, who remained in control even after losing Gomes to a red card with 19 minutes remaining.