A return to winning ways in only their second triumph in seven games sees the Mestalla club move ahead of Malaga in the race for Champions League football
Rayo came into the game on the back of a 6-0 thumping of Osasuna but they rarely showed such attacking prowess at the Mestalla. Los Che went two up with goals from Jonas and Jordi Alba but Diego Costa pulled one back for the visitors. The game was secured soon after as Jonas and Pablo Hernandez made it a convincing win in the end.
With 14 minutes played Jonas sent an enticing cross into the box from the right. Hernandez moved inside but was beaten to the ball by Alejandro Arribas who deflected it behind. From the resultant corner Adil Rami almost nodded in but he failed to hit the target.
Jordi Alba became more involved in the game as he found more space down the left and he was involved in his team’s next opportunity.
Then, some slick passing off of a throw in deep in the Rayo half created space for Hernandez to shoot on goal. He put the ball onto his right foot and looked to bend it into the far corner but a sprawling Joel managed to turn it past the post with the lightest of touches.
Two minutes later Los Che could have been behind as Lassane Bangoura broke into the area but his first touch was heavy and allowed Rami to get across and block the shot.
Rayo were proving stubborn opposition but the hosts finally broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. Sofiane Feghouli lost his marker and nodded the ball on target but Joel was there to make a save. However, he could only push it into the path of Jonas who drilled the ball into the net.
Jose Ramon Sandoval’s side lacked positivity and creativity and were punished when Valencia doubled their lead in the 70th minute. A slip by Jorge Pulido was exposed by the pace of Feghouli and the Algerian centred the ball for Jordi Alba to slide into the net.
However, two minutes later Rayo pulled a goal back. Hernandez did not spot Michu standing next to his keeper and played the ball straight to the opposing player. He popped a pass back to Diego Costa, who slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
The fightback was short-lived as the hosts were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when Arribas brought down Feghouli. Jonas stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Ricardo Costa had a goal ruled out in the final 10 minutes but Hernandez latched onto a pass from Sergio Canales to lift the ball over Joel and into the net.
The win means that Valencia above Malaga and into third position in the table while Rayo missed the chance to move into the top half of the table.