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UEFA Champions League

  • November 1, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
  • Referee: J. Eriksson
  • • Attendance: 37047
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Valencia 3-1 Leverkusen: Jonas nets second-fastest Champions League goal in history as Spaniards revive qualification hopes

Valencia 3-1 Leverkusen: Jonas nets second-fastest Champions League goal in history as Spaniards revive qualification hopes

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The Brazilian's strike after just 10.5 seconds set the Liga side on their way to a deserved victory, and kept them in the hunt for a spot in the round of 16

Valencia defeated Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in their Champions League Group E clash at the Mestalla to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stage alive.

Jonas opened the scoring for the hosts after just 10.5 seconds before Stefan Kiessling sent the sides into the break level with a header on the half-hour mark. However, second half goals from Roberto Soldado and Adil Rami secured the points for the Spanish side, who move one point off second place in the group.

Valencia got off to the perfect start, capitalising on an error by Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal to score right after kick-off. The young stopper cleared straight into the path of Jonas, who pounced on the loose ball to give his side the earliest of leads.

The goal, clocked after 10.5 seconds of play, was the second-fastest in Champions League history, narrowly behind Roy Makaay’s strike after 10.12 seconds for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid in the round of 16 back in 2007.

Valencia dominated possession thereafter, but were indebted to Diego Alves for preventing an equaliser in the 17th minute. The Brazilian keeper made a spectacular diving save to deny Omer Toprak an easy finish at the back post following a corner.

However, the Liga side were handed a blow in the 24th minute when Ever Banega had to be withdrawn due to injury. The Argentine midfielder, fighting back tears, was replaced by Tino Costa.

Leverkusen then levelled matters against the run of play on the half-hour mark. Michael Ballack was released down the left flank, and dinked in a clever cut-back from the byline which Kiessling duly headed home from a few yards out.

The visitors smelled blood and ended the first-half on a strong note as Alves had to be alert again in the 38th minute to tip over a stinging drive from Andre Schurrle from 20-yards out.

The Germany international went close again five minutes after the restart when he strode confidently into the area, but his effort from the right flashed wide of the far post.

Valencia managed to settle down shortly after and began to exert greater control over proceedings with some concerted spells of possession. This time, they made their dominance count, taking the lead in the 65th minute through Soldado. Jeremy Mathieu broke free down the left and the full-back sent a low cross into the path of the Spanish striker, who just managed to get enough on the ball to take it past Leno.

The Mestalla was awakened, but they were almost silenced a few minutes later after Schurrle had a goal disallowed for offside. The German was clearly behind the last defender when he was put through on the right and finished past Alves, but the linesman’s flag halted the Leverkusen celebrations.

Valencia took advantage of their good fortune, and scored their third goal 15 minutes from the end. Tino Costa’s corner was placed in the path of Rami, who outmuscled Lars Bender and nodded the ball past Reno to seal the points for the Liga side.

Leverkusen were deflated after Rami's goal and spent the remainder of the match playing second fiddle to the hosts, who stroked the ball around with relative ease behind their fans, who erupted with relief at the final whistle.

The result sees Valencia remain in third on five points, but they are now only one behind Leverkusen for second spot in Group E with two games remaining. Chelsea remain on top in the group with eight points, while Genk prop up the table with two.

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