Swansea made a brilliant start to their Europa League campaign, beating 10-man Valencia 3-0 in the Mestalla.
The Welsh side thoroughly outclassed their opponents, who were hamstrung from the 10th minute after central defender Adil Rami was sent off. Wilfried Bony did well to rob Ever Banega around 40 yards from goal and knocked the ball past Rami, but the Frenchman hauled him down. Bony was through on goal, so the ref pulled out the red card.
And shortly afterwards, they had the lead. On 14 minutes Michu broke into the box on the left and cut it back behind Alex Pozuelo. Bony collected the loose pass to shoot left-footed, and with the help of a slight deflection it eluded past Vicente Guaita in the Valencia goal.
Swansea doubled their advantage 13 minutes after the break. Jonathan De Guzman found Pozuelo around 30 yards from goal, and the winger paused for a crucial second, waiting for Michu to be in just the right position before playing through, and the Spaniard fired a right-footed shot in at the near post.
A few minutes later De Guzman sealed the game with a brilliant free-kick. The Dutchman was brought down by a cynical and needless Banega challenge around 30 yards from goal, and he stepped up to curl the ball superbly right into the top corner.
PRE-MATCH: Ashley Williams misses out with an ankle injury, Pablo Hernandez doesn't play due to a hamstring strain, while Leon Britton is suspended after he was sent off in the last round.
10' - RED CARD - ADIL RAMI IS DISMISSED: Bony does well to rob Banega and knocks it past Rami, but the Frenchman hauls him down. Bony was through on goal, so the ref pulls out the red card.
14' - GOAL - BONY GIVES SWANSEA THE LEAD: Great start for Swansea. Michu breaks into the box on the left and cuts it back behind Pozuelo, and Bony shoots left-footed past Guaita, with the help of a deflection.
58 - GOAL - MICHU DOUBLES THE LEAD: Beautifully-worked second for Swansea. De Guzman finds Pozuelo around 30 yards from goal, and he pauses for a crucial second before setting the Spaniard free to score.
62 - GOAL - WHAT A STRIKE BY DE GUZMAN: Brilliant stuff from De Guzman, who launches a right-footed free-kick right into the top corner. No chance for Guaita, and that would appear to be that.
Valencia possession: 30%, Swansea: 70%
Swansea attempted 17 shots with five on target. Valencia attempted just four.
Swansea's pass completion rate was 92%, while Valencia's was just 75%.
TALKING POINT: Swansea have real depth. What was perhaps most impressive about Swansea's dominant performances was that they did it without a number of key men. Ashley Williams, Leon Britton and Pablo Hernandez all missed out, but Michael Laudrup's side thoroughly outplayed their more illustrious opponents. Valencia were desperately poor, but does this performance tell us Swansea can go far in this tournament?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea): Swansea controlled the game from midfield, and while Pozeulo showed some good tricks and Bony was a constant threat, De Guzman was the man who pulled all the strings. And he capped his performance with an utterly superb free kick to seal the victory.
Valencia: Guaita 5, Barragan 5, Rami 2, Mathieu 4, Guardado 5, Fuego 5, Banega 6, Feghouli 5, Fede 4, Canales 6, Postiga 5. Subs: Costa 4, Pabon 6, Bernat 6.
Swansea: Vorm 6, Rangel 7, Chico Flores 7, Amat 6, Tiendalli 6, de Guzman 8, Canas 7, Pozuelo 7, Dyer 8, Michu 7, Bony 8. Subs: Davies 6, Lamah 6, Shelvey 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#Valencia 0-3 #Swans: Viva Espana! Swansea’s Spanish Armada return to home shores to plunder three points from their trip to the Med coast.