A hat-trick from Roberto Soldado fired Valencia CF to their second UEFA Champions League victory of the season and brought an emphatic end to FC BATE Borisov's perfect Group F record.
Soldado put the visitors ahead from the spot on the cusp of half-time and, moments after the hosts had been denied an equaliser, doubled the Liga side's lead with a 55th-minute volley. He completed his second treble in Europe's premier club competition midway through the half as BATE, victors against FC Bayern München on matchday two, were brought crashing back down to earth.
Like the Spain team that defeated Belarus 4-0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Dinamo Stadion 11 days ago, Valencia were soon monopolising possession. Soldado drew an instinctive save out of Andrei Gorbunov from David Albelda's measured pass down the side of the BATE defence.
Anything the Valencia captain could do, Aleksandr Hleb was able to replicate, though. Within minutes of that initial chance, the former FC Barcelona playmaker dissected the Mestalla outfit's back line. Ricardo Costa, covering round, slid in to clear as Vitali Rodionov prepared to profit.
Soldado then wriggled through two challenges and teed up Andrés Guardado, whose weak shot was easily gathered by Gorbunov, before BATE provided Diego Alves with his first involvement.
Aleksandr Pavlov darted his way to the byline and when his cutback was palmed out by the Valencia goalkeeper, Dmitri Likhtarovich was thwarted on the rebound. Five minutes later, Rodionov headed straight at Alves from Maksim Bordachev's left-wing cross.
Just as BATE seemed to be gaining the upper hand, however, Valencia struck. Soldado, a bustling presence up front, was hauled down by Marko Simić, resulting in a penalty which the Spain striker confidently dispatched.
Ten minutes into the second half Soldado doubled his and Valencia's tally as the game turned on a chance at either end. Alves prevented Rodionov from equalising with an outstretched leg and, with BATE cursing their luck, the Blanquinegros swept downfield with devastating consequences. Soldado finished off a counterattack by sumptuously volleying in Guardado's centre.
With Valencia scenting blood, Soldado set up Tino Costa, whose low shot was kept out by Gorbunov, before the same players combined to kill off the hosts' challenge. For BATE this represents a seventh defeat in as many encounters with Spanish opposition. They will hope to halt that run when the sides meet again on 7 November, a match for which Pavlov is suspended after being booked tonight.
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