The home side wastefully conceded two goals in the dying moments of the game after the trio had put them in full control, but remain favourites to progressValencia recorded a resounding 4-2 victory in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash with PSV, but late strikes from Ola Toivonen and Georgino Wijnaldom could prove significant after Victor Ruiz, Roberto Soldado, and Pablo Piatti had put Los Che in full control.
The visitors entered the match off the back of a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Twente, and appeared reluctant to expose their back four in the opening stages.
They lost all defensive composure in the 11th minute, however, when Ruiz opened the scoring for the hosts. The Spaniard was woefully marked after Pablo Hernandez was allowed to cut in from the right flank, and duly headed home the winger’s delivery.
Valencia doubled their lead just two minutes later, courtesy of a close-range finish from Soldado. PSV were again caught out on the right flank, allowing Antonio Barragan to send in a low delivery which the forward did well to meet and convert.
The visitors responded positively to the early setback, but continued to lack the incisiveness needed to break down a resilient Valencia defence.
Jonas was presented with a golden chance to extend his side’s lead further after being left unmarked on a corner, but the Brazilian’s half-volley failed to hit the target. Piatti then came agonisingly close to his first European goal of the season in the 39th minute, when he saw his header cleared after Isaksson had parried onto the post.
Valencia would not be denied a third goal however, with Soldado netting from the spot in the 43rd minute. Strootman was judged to have illegally tackled Jonas in the area, and the Spain international coolly converted the resultant penalty.
The hosts came out of the break a composed side, looking to dictate play on the comfort of their three-goal cushion, while PSV avidly went in search of an away goal, but their offensive intentions only resulted in further misery.
The Eindhoven conceded their fourth of the night in the 57th minute, when Piatti seamlessly sprung the offside trap. The Argentine calmly controlled Dani Parejo’s lofted pass before charging at the opposition goal and calmly slotting home past a helpless Isaksson.
The visitors were eventually rewarded for their efforts, with Toivonen pulling one back from the spot. Jeremy Mathieu unnecessarily brought down Strootman in the box, and the skipper duly converted the penalty to hand his side a lifeline heading into the second leg.
But then Valencia wastefully conceded a second in the dying moments of the game courtesy of a composed finish from Wijnaldum. Labyad sent in a sumptuous delivery, which his compatriot converted after escaping the sight of Valencia’s previously impenetrable back line, to put a different complexion on the tie.
The victory for Valencia leaves them as favorites position to progress to the quarter-finals, but PSV will feel they are still very much in the tie.