Valencia CF sit proudly on top of Group D following an authoritative 2-1 win against AS Roma and two splendid goals from Miguel Ángel Angulo and David Villa.
Not even a Francesco Totti penalty in the first half and a spirited, attacking performance from the Italian side in the second could deflect from Quique Sánchez Flores's men, who closed the game out to gain maximum plunder from a magnificent opening 45 minutes.
The electrifying start met exactly the pre-match expectations of commitment, skill and spectacle. Luciano Spalletti's team shaped up in a 4-3-2-1 formation with the intention of flooding the midfield but also establishing a platform for Simone Perrotta and Alberto Aquilani between Valencia's middle and back lines. However, despite the fact the tactic worked abundantly well, Roma fell behind as soon as they had established control of proceedings.
The home side had opened with a sweeping first-minute move which ended with Villa hooking over from ten metres. Then Roma consistently claimed good possession and FIFA World Cup winner Perrotta sent two strong headers in on Santiago Cañizares's goal. In between these efforts, the excellent Marco Cassetti surged forward and played a one-two which enabled him to toe-poke the ball past Cañizares and shave the side-netting.
Yet it was Valencia who struck first. From Vicente Rodríguez's searching cross-field pass, Villa mishit his shot but the ball dropped perfectly for Angulo to let fly a fierce volley which goalkeeper Doni could not keep out. The onus was now on the hosts to defend their lead but they allowed Roma a route back into the tie inside five minutes. Emiliano Moretti controlled a harmless-looking cross by bending to chest it down in front of his own goal, but the ball spun loose and he hauled Cassetti down as the winger was about to shoot. Totti scored his second goal of the group stage with a cleverly-taken penalty.
The Mestalla crowd never wavered though, continuously urging their favourites on, and Los Ché were in front again 15 minutes before the break. Moretti made amends for his error with a burst in from the left wing and as Villa received his pass, Christian Chivu slipped which permitted the Spanish international to slide the ball through a gaping hole to the right of Doni.
Valencia worked harder to conserve their advantage this time around and coped with Totti dropping deeper to give substitute Vincenzo Montella a solo attacking role. At the other end of the pitch, only two superb interceptions from Matteo Ferrari stopped Valencia sealing victory before the hour. First the centre-back blocked Villa's goalbound strike, then his clearance off Vicente's cross flew up over the Roma crossbar. Vicente and Villa had both gone close to adding ink to the scoresheet earlier than that, yet the main task was reducing Roma's threat, and its successful completion left Valencia three points clear at the top of Group D.