Valencia complete double
Mauricio Pellegrino (AFP)
Valencia - Valencia completed the double in Champions League Group F with a 4-2 win over Belarus outfit BATE Borisov on Wednesday to stay level on points with pacesetters Bayern Munich, who crushed Lille 6-1.
BATE had made a bright start to the campaign, stunning group favourites Bayern on their way to winning their opening two fixtures.
But they then came unstuck at home to Valencia and the Spaniards once again outfoxed them, taking the lead in the 26th minute at the Mestalla Stadium.
Brazilian striker Jonas Goncalves broke the deadlock, firing home on the turn high into the net after controlling a cross from a Tino Costa cross.
Almost straight from the restart, it was 2-0, Roberto Soldado - who scored a hattrick in the away match - converting from the spot after Denis Polyakov fouled Andres Guardado as the latter burst into the box.
Coach Mauricio Pellegrino has been struggling to conjure coherent league form from his Valencia side this season - they sit in midtable with only four wins from ten games - but this success, following their win in Belarus, should propel them towards the last 16 in Europe.
Former Barcelona midfielder Aleksandr Hleb tried gamely to spark a riposte but was unable to call on support from the suspended Alexander Pavlov as Valencia tightened their grip on proceedings.
Vitali Rodionov had an early effort wide for Viktor Goncharenko's BATE but the two goals took the wind out of the visitors' sails as Valencia, finalists in 2000 and 2001, made it 3-0 six minutes after the restart.
Algerian Sofiane Feghouli slammed home after Fernando Gago cut through a tiring defence to find his teammate unmarked.
BATE did knuckle down to make a game of it as Renan Bressan converted for 3-1 just two minutes after Feghouli's effort.
And suddenly the Spaniards were sweating when Dmitri Mozolevski, on for Hleb, made it 3-2 in the 83rd minute with a tap-in from Rodianov's pass as Valencia looked to be counting down the clock and cruising.
However, the hosts quickly snapped out of their complacency as Feghouli bagged his second goal of the night with four minutes remaining, cracking home a fierce drive after substitute Ever Banega had found him.