A brace of goals from Jonas either side of halftime helped Valencia ease to a 2-0 victory over Lille in the two sides' Champions League Group F encounter at Mestalla this evening.
The home side forged the first opportunity of note after a tepid opening, Sofiane Feghouli latching onto a divine Fernando Gago through ball seven minutes in. The Algerian lacked the composure to convert the chance however, firing wide with only Mickael Landreau to beat.
As the match started to shift into gear Valencia's midfield began to take hold of the game, with Fernando Gago and Jonas in particular shining for the home side.
Despite Gago's probing passes it was Lille that fashioned the next chance of note, a weak challenge from Valencia center back Victor Ruiz pushing the ball straight into the path of Florent Lamont on the edge of the penalty area. Lamont's shot from 18 yards was wayward though, drifting the wrong side of Vicente Guaita's right-hand post.
Valencia made the visitors rue that miss by taking the lead shortly after through Jonas. The Brazilian gave the home side the lead on 38 minutes with a confident side-footed finish from 12 yards after he had played a neat one-two with Roberto Soldado on the edge of the Lille box.
The French side had an opportunity to equalize before the break, but was again wasteful. Dimitri Payet was the guilty man on this occasion, slicing an effort into the side netting when one-on-one with Guaita after racing on to a fine pass from Idrissa Gueye inside his own half.
Soldado should have increased Valencia's lead on the hour mark after some exquisite buildup play from Andres Guardado and Feghouli. The former drove forward with the ball from the halfway line before slipping a neat pass to Feghouli, who did brilliantly to dig out a cross from the left-hand side of the area. Soldado appeared to be expecting a low cross though, and after adjusting to meet the cross could only head an effort over Landreau's crossbar.
Jonas then added his and Valencia's second of the night in fortuitous circumstances after 75 minutes. The midfielder dribbled down the right before lifting a hopeful cross into the area that caught Landreau out slightly off his line, clipped the top of the bar before nestling in the back of the net.
The home side looked to run down the clock in the final 10 minutes of the match, introducing Dani Parejo in midfield, and affording the goalscorer Jonas a standing ovation from the Valencia fans at Mestalla.
Any chance Lille had of getting anything from the game were deflated in the 86th minute when captain Mathieu Debuchy was shown his marching orders by the referee for his second bookable offense of the match. After picking up a yellow card at the end of the first half for a rash challenge on Aly Cissokho, he repeated the trick late in the second half on Dani Parejo, and the referee duly sent him off.
- Fernando Gago
- Roberto Soldado
- Sofiane Feghouli