By Fergus O'Shea
Valencia CF will meet local rivals Villarreal CF in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup after defeating FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 for the second time in seven days at the Mestalla tonight.
Rufete in charge
The inspirational Francisco Rufete ran the show for the home side, crossing for Mauricio Pellegrino to head Valencia in front on 52 minutes, before adding the second himself on the break eight minutes later. Eduardo Costa pulled one back for Bordeaux with 19 minutes remaining, but by then the damage had been done.
Having seen his side surge to the top of the Spanish league at the weekend, Rafael Benítez had the luxury of juggling his lineup here and he made three changes from the team which won in France last Thursday - Fabián Canobbio, David Albelda and Miguel Angulo all coming into the side.
There were no such options open to the Bordeaux coach, Michel Pavon. The suspensions of Antonio Mavuba, Marouane Chamakh and Franck Jurietti had left his injury-hit squad badly depleted, and he called on Deivid De Souza and Juan Pablo Francia to lead the line in the absence of Jean-Claude Darcheville.
Valencia in control
Looking to strike early, the French side were strong in the tackle as they tried to force Valencia back. But the Primera División leaders bided their time and, after stifling Bordeaux in midfield, soon began to impose themselves.
Angulo comes close
Their first chance fell to Miguel Angulo who burst clear of the Bordeaux defence on 22 minutes, but the ball bounced awkwardly as he bore down on goal and the French side were able to clear. Three minutes later Ulrich Ramé saved Rufete's drive, then watched on as the midfield player's low cross skidded to safety just beyond the reach of the onrushing Xisco Muñoz.
Valencia were on top but unable to make their possession pay until seven minutes into the second half. Rufete picked out Pellegrino with a precise corner and the defender, unmarked near the penalty spot, sent a fierce header down into the ground and beyond Ramé.
Rufete doubles up
Ahead 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate, Valencia had effectively killed off Bordeaux's hopes and the tie was put beyond doubt on the hour when Rufete added a second on the break. Angulo was released down the left and his centre picked out the midfield player who left Ramé with no chance from six metres.
Costa hits back
A feature of this quarter-final had been Valencia's discipline and organisation, notably at the back, but the home side were caught out on 71 minutes when Francia's deep free-kick eluded the Valencia defence to allow Eduardo Costa to steal in and touch the ball past Santiago Cañizares at the far post.
Valencia look forward
The goal was just reward for a Bordeaux side who had pressed Valencia back for much of the second half, but by then Valencia could be forgiven for having one eye on a semi-final match-up with their compatriots.