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Valencia beat Rayo 4-1 to go third

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By David Redshaw

Thursday 12 April 2012

Valencia regained third spot in the table with a convincing 4-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the Mestalla.

Having gained a valuable point from the goalless draw at Real Madrid last weekend, Unai Emery’s men had to wait until four minutes before the break to get their noses in front against Rayo, Brazilian forward Jonas shooting low into the net on the turn after Joel had saved a header from Sofiane Feghouli.

Los Ché doubled their advantage on 70 minutes, Spanish international full-back Jordi Alba sliding home from a long Feghouli cross, but the visitors hit back immediately through Diego Costa who latched on to Michu's pass and fired low into the corner.

However, Valencia restored the two-goal cushion just five minutes later from the penalty spot, Jonas getting his second of the night after Feghouli had been fouled by Alejandro Arribas. Raúl Tamudo then saw a header for Rayo turned round the post by Vicente Guaita as the Madrid team looked for a way back into the game, but the result was put beyond any doubt two minutes from time, Pablo Hernández rising above the defence to head Sergio Canales’ corner into the net.

Emery accepted afterwards that his players had not been at the level shown in other games, particularly early on in the season, but believed they had been more effective.

“We needed to be efficient and that is what we were. We were able to create more chances than our opponents and score four goals, although it could have been more, but Rayo did make it uncomfortable for us, he admitted.

Rayo boss José Ramón Sandoval thought his team had been hard done by, especially concerning the penalty awarded from which Valencia scored their third goal.

“The scoreline was a smokescreen as they managed to get four goals from five shots, one of them a penalty, and we were treated as 'little Rayo' in this game," fumed Sandoval. “But we have to accept the ‘little Rayo’ tag and even the Valencia player acknowledged it wasn’t a penalty. It cost us any hope of mounting a comeback."

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