Bengaluru, April 15: Valencia stayed in the hunt for the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot in La Liga with a dominating 3-1 win in a city derby at home to Levante.
Scarred by defeat by struggling Rayo Vallecano last weekend yet buoyed by victory in their Europa League quarterfinal first leg over Villarreal, Marcelino's side got off to a flying start with a headed goal from Santi Mina in the second minute.
They lost defender Cristiano Piccini to a serious injury later in the first half and Levante equalised against the run of play in the 56th minute when Valencia's Carlos Soler clumsily diverted a corner into his own net.
FT 3-1 Well-deserved WIN 🤩 pic.twitter.com/ayr1OQ82gm— Valencia CF English 🦇💯 (@valenciacf_en) April 14, 2019
Valencia's record signing Goncalo Guedes immediately restored the home side's lead down the other end by lashing into the far corner, while Mina scored a tap-in six minutes later to seal the three points.
Valencia are sixth in the standings after 32 games on 49 points, two behind fifth-placed Getafe who drew 2-2 at Valladolid and three back from Sevilla, who occupy fourth spot after beating Real Betis 3-2.
Earlier, La Liga leaders Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by basement club Huesca after coach Ernesto Valverde made sweeping changes to his line-up ahead of Tuesday's (April 16) Champions League quarterfinal decider against Manchester United.
Barca lead the standings with 74 points with six games left although their advantage was reduced to nine points after second-placed Atletico Madrid beat Celta Vigo 2-0.
Real Madrid, who are third in table take on Leganes in an away game on Monday (April 15).