Valencia CF produced a professional display to defeat Turkish champions Besiktas JK and turn a 3-2 first-leg lead into a three-goal aggregate margin. Despite the home side dominating possession, Miguel Angulo and Juan Sánchez struck on the counterattack in both halves to seal the victory.
The visitors, who had claimed victory in the last minute at the Mestalla last Thursday, again fielded a much-altered side to that which normally competes in the Primera División. There were a total of seven changes to the team that surprisingly lost 2-1 to RCD Espanyol on Sunday, with only Roberto Ayala, Mauricio Pellegrino, Javier Garrido and Mohamed Sissoko retaining their places.
Angulo did not take long to open the scoring. Cutting in from the right, he found himself completely unmarked and advanced on goal. Besiktas goalkeeper Óscar Córdoba, who had brilliantly denied Fabián Canobbio just moments before, was helpless as Angulo made no mistake with his slotted finish.
Besiktas jumped into action after the goal though and Daniel Pancu had their best chance. The previously quiet Adrian Ilie picked out his Romanian compatriot with a lobbed through-ball from the left touchline. Pancu controlled, but with just Andrés Palop to beat, sliced his shot into the side-netting. Coming from the man who had scored two such brilliant goals in the first leg, it was a disappointment.
Besiktas threw on Ahmed Hassan for Giunti at half-time and the substitute almost scored within seconds, shooting wide of the near post from a tight angle. Indeed Besiktas came out playing with a renewed resolve and soon had the visitors on the back foot, putting sustained pressure on Palop's goal.
However, the game was to take an unfortunate twist for the home side. Just when Valencia had looked their least threatening, they scored their second of the night and all but secured progress to the fourth round. Xisco Muñoz curled in a cross from the left, expertly picking out the unmarked Sánchez, whose downward header eluded Córdoba at the far post.
With Besiktas now needing to score three times just to take the game into extra-time, they adopted an increasingly cavalier attitude as the game drifted away from them, especially once Zago was dismissed late on for a foul on Carlos Marchena.
Valencia coach Rafael Benítez was surprised that his opposite number had not pushed his side harder. "It was a complicated game for us," he said. "They attacked us to try and get back into the game, but Besiktas did not play as well as I had expected, so it became easier for us.
They left space at the back for us to exploit."
While disappointed with the result, Besiktas coach Mircea Lucescu was pleased that his side's reputation had forced Valencia into a defensive game plan. "They played with a lot of defensive players," he said. "Our side is becoming well known by the other teams in Europe."
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