Valencia puts Villarreal to the sword, jumps to second in La Liga
Valencia moved to within a point of Primera Division leaders Real Madrid with a 3-1 derby victory at Villarreal, although the hosts will be wondering just how they failed to get anything out of a game for the second successive week.
Villarreal dominated for large periods at El Madrigal but an early own goal from Manuel Trigueros put Valencia in front before a second-half brace from Germany center-back Shkodran Mustafi took the game away from the Yellow Submarine.
Trigueros managed to pull one back late on to give the hosts a glimmer of hope but, despite charging forward in the final moments, they could not get any closer.
It was Villarreal's second successive loss after conceding two goals in the last two minutes to lose 2-1 at Sevilla last time out, and it was another result that will really stick in their craw.
They really should have taken a fifth-minute lead but Trigueros fired a good chance over from near the penalty spot, and 60 seconds later the same player inadvertently put Valencia ahead.
He tried to slide in and intercept Sofiane Feghouli's low cross but succeeded only in poking it past his own goalkeeper Andres Asenjo.
Despite that blow, Villarreal should still have been ahead by the break as they created a number of openings, the best seeing Denis Cheryshev's dipping shot from outside the area being turned away by Diego Alves, who was also able to save from the Russia forward's header soon after in the same attack.
Alves did even better at the start of the second as he produced a brilliant one-handed stop to tip over Bruno Soriano's 25-yard free-kick after it had taken a wicked deflection off the wall.
Villarreal continued to push for the equalizer but, against the run of play, Valencia scored twice in the space of 11 minutes to put the game beyond their reach.
Both goals were frustratingly similar for Marcelino Garcia Toral's side, with slack defending allowing Mustafi to head home Pablo Piatti's far-post cross in the 63rd minute, before the Germany international again escaped his markers to side-foot in a Piatti corner that had been flicked on by Feghouli.
There was no way back for Villarreal after that, although they at least managed to get on the scoresheet with three minutes left when Trigueros, partly making amends for his earlier own goal, picked up pass from from Gerard Moreno in the area before smashing a shot into the top corner.