The home side wastefully conceded two goals in the dying moments of the game after the trio had put them in full control, but remains favorites to progressValencia recorded a resounding 4-2 victory in the first leg of its Europa League round of 16 clash with PSV, with late strikes from Ola Toivonen and Georgino Wijnaldom proving irrelevant after Ruiz, Soldado, and 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 the Eindhoven outfit appeared reluctant to expose its back four in the opening stages. The Brabant side defended in numbers, absorbing early pressure from the hosts.
PSV lost all defensive composure in the 11th minute however, when Victor Ruiz opened the scoring for the hosts. The Spaniard was woefully marked after Pablo Piatti was allowed to cut in from the right flank, and duly headed home the winger’s delivery.
Valencia doubled its lead just two minutes later, courtesy of a close-range finish from Roberto Soldado. PSV was again caught out on the right flank, allowing Barragon 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 defense. Los Che continued to channel play down the right flank, looking to capitalize on the inexperience of left back Willems.
Jonas was presented with a golden chance to extend his side’s lead after being left unmarked on a corner, but the Brazilian’s half-volley failed to hit the target. Piatti then came agonizingly close to his first European goal of the season in the 39th minute, when he saw his header cleared after Isaksson had parried it onto the post.
Valencia would not be denied a third goal however, with Roberto Soldado netting from the spot in the 43rd minute. Strootman was judged to have illegally tackled Jonas in the area, and the Spanish international coolly converted the resultant penalty.
The hosts came out of the break a composed side, looking to dictate play on the comfort of its three-goal cushion. PSV avidly went in search of an away goal, but its offensive intentions only resulted in further misery.
The Eindhoven conceded their fourth of the night in the 57th minute, when Pablo Piatti seamlessly sprung the offside trap. The Argentine calmly controlled Parejo’s lofted pass before charging at the opposition goal and calmly slotting home past a helpless Isaksson.
PSV found possession easier to come by following the goal, but its offensive momentum continued to break down in and around Valencia’s box. Dries Mertens saw his freekick from close range saved, before Ola Toivonen spurned a glorious effort from 6 yards out.
The visitors were eventually rewarded for their efforts, with Ola Toivonen pulling one back from the spot. 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.
Valencia wastefully conceded a second in the dying moments of the game courtesy of a composed finish from Georgino Wijnaldum. Labyad sent in a sumptuous delivery, which his compatriot converted after escaping the sight of Valencia’s previously impenetrable back line.
The victory for Valencia leaves them as favorites position to progress to the quarterfinals. PSV will be looking end its poor run of form when they travel to NAC Breda on Sunday, while Los Che are set to welcome Mallorca before the return on March 15th.
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