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Valencia CF took firm control of Group B with a scintillating 3-1 dismantling of LOSC Lille Métropole at the Mestalla. Goals from Joaquín and Juan Mata mean that a win or a draw on Matchday 6 in Genoa will guarantee Valencia's progress despite Aurélien Chedjou's late reply.
Unai Emery's team began like a cork shooting out of champagne bottle. Pablo Hernàndez and Mata demonstrated superb pass-and-move football before Mata slid the ball between Chedjou and keeper Mickaël Landreau for Joaquín to score in the third minute. Valencia were on the rampage and Mata curved a cleverly angled shot on to the bar six minutes later, with a low shot from Gervinho into the side-netting of the Valencia goal failing to stem the tide.
Éver Banega, starring in an advanced creative midfield role, gave what looked like being the pass of the night just before the half-hour, splitting two defenders to connect with Mata's run and impudent nudge wide. However, after Pierre-Alan Frau produced a delightful flick over the head of Carlos Marchena and thumped a fierce shot into side of Miguel Ángel Moyá's net, the Valencia captain decided to react. In the 32nd minute Marchena struck a perfect 70-metre pass to hit Joaquín's diagonal run. The winger controlled with his right, finished with his left and scored his third goal in four UEFA Europa League appearances. Miguel Ángel Moyá ensured that the lead remained healthy saving acrobatically from Franck Beria's glanced header just before the break.
The rampage continued in the second half with Banega launching a missile from his right boot immediately before Mata made it 3-0. Bruno Saltor sent a long ball forward, Chedjou misread the bounce and Mata held off two challenges to bury the ball past Landreau. However, the Lille keeper saved outstandingly at the feet of substitute Miku with six minutes left and Chedjou then struck in added time to rescue some damaged French pride.
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