Valencia CF will take a commanding lead into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against IF Elfsborg after scoring three unanswered goals.
Home coach Quique Sánchez Flores elected to stick with the old guard, preferring to keep this summer's signings on the bench in favour of those players who were involved in last season's run to the quarter-finals. And three of those, Vicente Rodríguez, David Silva and Fernando Morientes, were the goalscorers tonight.
Vicente was beset by ankle trouble last season, including in the first leg of their defeat by Chelsea FC, but made up for lost time by giving Valencia the lead after just six minutes. David Villa's shot was only parried by Johan Wiland and Vicente pounced on the rebound.
Wiland gave an otherwise excellent performance and the Elsborg goalkeeper was on hand to prevent the Spanish side from doubling their lead just eight minutes later when he pulled off a fine save from Italian defender Emiliano Moretti. The visiting custodian was having a busy night and he twice denied the ever-menacing Vicente before the break, first by keeping out a 31st-minute free-kick and then parrying a powerful shot a minute before the interval.
The home side continued to dominate after the break with Rubén Baraja twice going close and Silva hitting the post on 55 minutes. It was but a prelude of things to come, however, as Silva rose to head Joaquín Sánchez's cross into the net three minutes later to make it 2-0.
Morientes on target
Sánchez Flores brought Morientes on for Vicente on the hour and the experienced striker rounded off the scoring for Valencia eleven minutes later, as he profited from yet another accurate Joaquín centre. Perhaps understandably, the tempo of the game dropped for the final 20 minutes with Valencia now confident of returning to the group stage with the benefit of a three-goal cushion to take to the second leg in Sweden on 29 August.