Valencia CF swept aside Legia Warszawa with a 6-1 second-leg victory in the Mestalla stadium to advance into the last 32 with a 7-2 aggregate UEFA Cup second-round scoreline.
Valencia's goals were scored by six different players. David Albelda, Adrian Ilie, Miroslav Djukic and a Pablo Aimar penalty put Valencia 4-0 up by the interval. Then Juan Sánchez and Miguel Angulo scored the other two in the second half, either side of Legia’s 76th-minute consolation goal from substitute Stanko Svitlica.
It was an awesome display that brought to mind their performances two seasons ago against S.S. Lazio and FC Barcelona in the Mestalla when they reached the UEFA Champions League final for the first time. On this form it would be no surprise if Valencia went all the way to the final in Rotterdam.
A joy to behold
Valencia’s attacking combinations were a joy to behold as Rafael Benites’ side weaved a complex web of first-time passes and bewildering movement. The spider at the centre of the web was Aimar, who as well as scoring from the penalty spot, set up goals for Ilie and Sanchez.
All six goals were of the highest quality, but the pick was the opening strike from Albelda, who volleyed spectacularly home on 12 minutes after Legia had failed to clear Aimar’s cross. Three minutes later the Argentinian delivered a killer pass to Ilie, who rifled his shot past Wojciech Kowalewski. Just before Aimar passed, Sanchez made a wonderful diverting run to create oceans of space in the Legia defence.
Sanchez also put in a monumental performance alongside Aimar and at one point in the first-half those two players exchanged a series of one-twos during which the ball did not touch the turf. Just past the half-hour mark, Miroslav Djukic strode forward and picked up Ilie’s adroit cross-field pass, firing the ball past Kowalewski to make it 3-0. On 38 minutes the hapless goalkeeper brought down Sanchez with a reckless tackle. Aimar made no mistake from the spot as he stroked the ball home with Kowalewski diving the wrong way.
On 69 minutes Aimar started weaving again, this time delivering the pass for Sanchez, who drilled the ball past Kowalewski. Almost immediately, Svitlica pulled a goal back as he prodded the ball past Andrés Palop. But Valencia simply moved up another gear again and Angulo rounded the Legia goalkeeper to re-establish Valencia’s five-goal advantage on 77 mintues. Palop had an extremely quiet night, though he did make a superb fingertip save from Tomasz Sokolowski's flashing volley.