La Liga - Five-star Valencia maul Villarreal

Sun, 10 Apr 22:23:00 2011

Valencia cemented third place in La Liga with a thumping 5-0 win over Villarreal as Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata both scored twice.

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Ever Banega was also on the scoresheet as the home side ripped an inexperienced defence to shreds from the outset.

Although the Yellow Submarine are only a place below Los Che in the table, the gap is now six points and Unai Emery's side have a clear advantage in the head-to-head, which decides level finishes in La Liga, as well.

Some neat skill by Nilmar almost created a chance for Giuseppe Rossi after nine minutes but that was about as much as the dangerous front pairing produced.

Instead, Soldado made up for being denied by Diego Lopez on a couple of occasions by opening the scoring from a Miguel pass. The in-form striker sprung the offside trap again and finished confidently.

Lopez again thwarted Soldado in a one-on-one situation and the forward continued to find acres of space around the box.

Mata hoped for a penalty after a clash with Carlos Marchena but the half ended with Valencia only having a single goal to show for their superiority.

The second goal was worth waiting for as a brilliant move saw Mata play a one-two with Banega to finish in style from a slight angle.

Six minutes later and it was all over as Pablo Hernandez got away down the right and produced an inviting cut-back for Banega to supply a cool finish.

The Yellow Submarine were well and truly sunk and worse was to follow. Pablo again made a mockery of the offside trap to latch onto a Soldado pass and his square ball allowed Mata to tap into an unguarded net.

Two minutes later, more terrible defending gifted Mehmet Topal the ball and Soldado majestically chipped Lopez for his sixth goal in two games.

Luckily for the visitors Valencia took their foot off the accelerator in the closing stages, but they delivered an emphatic message that they intend to finish behind the big two and qualify for the Champions League automatically.

Adam Marshall / Eurosport

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