Valencia 4-2 BATE: Los Che beat Belarusians to edge closer to qualification

It was set to be a walk in the park for the Liga outfit, who strolled into a three-goal lead, but a pair of sloppy moments made the mach closer than it should have been
Valencia continued their push towards the Champions League Round of 16 with an entertaining 4-2 victory over BATE Borisov at the Mestalla on Wednesday.

Both teams, as well as Bayern Munich, were level on six points in Group F at the start of play, but the importance of the match never fazed the hosts, who outclassed their Belarusian opponents on the night.

Jonas fired Valencia into the lead in the 26th minute, with Roberto Soldado adding a second from the penalty spot shortly after. Sofiane Feghouli made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half, but Renan Bressen pulled one back for the visitors within minutes.

Dmitri Mozolevski scored after an awful error from Fernando Gago to make matters tense with seven minutes to go, but Feghouli popped up with his second goal minutes later to seal victory, which moves los Che onto nine points, level at the top of the standings with Bayern, who thrashed Lille 6-1.

Valencia quickly got into their stride, and with seven minutes gone, a crucial block from Yegor Filipenko denied Jonas, who had done well to bring a tricky pass under control inside the area.

However, controversy would rear its head about a quarter of an hour into the match. Replays clearly showed Soldado lashing out at Maksim Bordachev, but the officials missed the incident and the Valencia vice-captain went unpunished.

The hosts were knocking on the door, but could not find a finishing touch to any of their attacking moves. But midway through the first half, a whirlwind three-minute spell saw the Spanish side stun their Belarusian opponents with a pair of quickfire goals.

Jonas broke the deadlock in the 26th minute after volleying home a cross inside the area, though replays suggested that the Brazilian may have gotten away with using his hands to help control the ball.

BATE felt hard done by, and moments after the restart, had more reason to be aggrieved after Andres Guardado won a penalty after going down under pressure from Artem Radkov, despite the contact occurring just outside the box. Soldado stepped up to bury low into the left corner to put the hosts further ahead.

It could have been three for Valencia just after the half hour mark, had Jonas’ effort from a corner not been blocked by a throng of bodies on the BATE goalline.

The visitors were devoid of ideas, and a moment of inspiration from Feghouli nearly carved them apart moments before the break, as the Algerian flicked the ball over Bordachev, but side-footed wide of the target.

But Feghouli would get his goal five minutes after the interval, latching on to a Fernando Gago feed to finish comfortably after a slick move from the home side.

However, in the 53rd minute, BATE were able to pull one back. Renan Bressen took charge of a free kick on the left side of the box, and his delivery went unmet by anyone, and bent in at the near post.

The tempo of the match died down shortly after that, with Valencia unwilling to commit huge numbers forward in order to avoid conceding again, and BATE simply unable to conjure up anything meaningful in attack.

But the visitors were gifted a lifeline in the 83rd minute by Gago, who was caught napping on the ball and robbed of possession in a dangerous area, from which Mozolevski was able to pounce and slot home.

Any hopes of a miraculous comeback were dashed two minutes later by Feghouli, who sent a fine half-volley into the back of the net at the far post to seal the win for Valencia, who now look to be in a straight shoot-out with Bayern for first place in Group F.