Goals in the final 20 minutes from Paco Alcácer and Sofiane Feghouli got Valencia CF's UEFA Europa League Group A campaign up and running with a confidence-building win at FC Kuban Krasnodar.
With both teams beaten on matchday one, a tight contest looked in the offing and so it proved, until Alcácer – making his first appearance of the season – came off the bench to open the scoring in the 73rd minute after a slip from home goalkeeper Aleksandr Belenov. Feghouli's precise free-kick nine minutes from time clinched the points and ensured Valencia will go into their double header FC St Gallen in good heart, while point-less Kuban next face Swansea City AFC.
Urged on by vociferous home support, Kuban began brightly with Djibril Cissé flashing a shot wide from a tight angle. Valencia weathered the storm and came closest to a first-half breakthrough from Sergio Canales' inswinging right-wing corner, Belenov scrambling away a powerful Ricardo Costa header.
Six minutes after half-time, Valencia might have been behind as Ivelin Popov escaped down the right and delivered a perfect cross for Lorenzo Melgarejo, but the Kuban left-back steered his header wide. Miroslav Djukić's side responded strongly and Belenov saved from Pablo Piatti and Fede Cartabia, yet the goalkeeper was undone as he advanced from his penalty area to clear a long ball only to slip and leave substitute Alcácer with an unguarded net.
Eight minutes later, the points were secure. Feghouli curled a low 25-metre free-kick beyond Belenov's left hand to wrap up Valencia's fourth successive victory in all competitions and revive the visitors' European aspirations, while Kuban – who have now lost five of their last six matches – have work to do.
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