Valencia beat nine-man Betis
Valencia retained third spot in La Primera by easing to a comfortable victory over nine-man Real Betis at the Mestalla.
Los Che boss Unai Emery and his players had to endure the derision of the fans before kick-off following the La Liga defeat at Espanyol (4-0) and a Europa League semi-final first leg reverse at Atletico Madrid (4-2). However, the jeers turned to cheers after just six minutes when Jonas gave Valencia the lead, the Brazilian striker getting on the end of Roberto Soldado’s header to steer the ball wide of goalkeeper Fabricio.
The Andalusians had Jose Dorado sent off on 58 minutes for bringing down Sofiane Feghouli when he was free on goal and the Frenchman made them pay five minutes later when he prodded home a Sergio Canales cross.
With the visitors rarely troubling Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita, the hosts wrapped things up in the final five minutes with goals from Soldado and Pablo Piatti, and Betis’ misery was complete when Jorge Molina was dismissed just before the final whistle for protesting.
Emery believes his players have rediscovered their confidence before Thursday’s return with Atletico and considers they still have a chance of mounting a comeback.
“We came here off the back of a bad result and now we have improved,” he insisted. “There is light at the end of the tunnel after our last-minute goal in the first leg and we must take the game to them and not let them settle.”
Betis boss Pepe Mel was his usual forthright self after the game and blamed referee Muniz Fernandez for the defeat.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Valencia but Muniz did not help us,” said Mel. “It is incomprehensible that a foul in our favour ended in a goal for the opposition and it made no sense when he sent off our player: he was unlucky.
“Their first goal was very dubious and there was also a handball by Albelda for which he should have received a yellow card.”
Valencia 4-0 Real Betis
Scorers: Jonas 6, Feghouli 63, Soldado 86, Piatti 88 (VAL)
Valencia: Guaita; Barragan, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Jordi Alba, Albelda (Maduro 79); Parejo, Feghouli (Piatti 73), Canales (Bernat 81); Jonas, Soldado.
Real Betis: Fabricio; Nelson, Paulao, Dorado, Nacho, Canas; Benat, Jonathan Pereira (Amaya 61), Jefferson Montero (Salva Sevilla 64); Santa Cruz (Molina 71), Ruben Castro.
Referee: Muniz Fernandez