Three days after winning the UEFA Super Cup, Valencia CF began their Primera División defence with a 2-1 victory against Villarreal CF.
Valencia were keen to follow up their triumph against FC Porto in Monaco on Friday with three points in Claudio Ranieri's first league game in charge. And they opened the scoring on 27 minutes when Carlos Marchena headed in Vícente Rodriguez's corner.
Forlán on target
The lead doubled eleven minutes later after Rubén Baraja, who scored with his head against Porto, did so again from a Vicente Rodríguez free-kick. However, UEFA Intertoto Cup winners Villarreal pushed hard to get back into the game, and gave themselves hope in the 79th minute when Diego Forlán, a recent signing from Manchester United FC, pulled a goal back.
Valencia hold on
Valencia held on, however, to ensure they matched the winning starts of the teams tipped to challenge hardest for their title, Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona.