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Free-scoring Valencia put pressure on Barcelona


Madrid (AFP) – Valencia swept aside Leganes 3-0 on Saturday to continue their stunning form with an eighth straight win to close to within a point of La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side also moved ahead of Barca as the league’s top scorers with 30 goals in their first 11 games as Dani Parejo, Rodrigo and Santi Mina found the net.

Barca can reopen a four-point gap at the top of the table when they host Sevilla later on Saturday (1945 GMT) at the Camp Nou.

Parejo has been one of many players rejuvenated by Marcelino’s arrival at Mestalla after two seasons in the doldrums for Valencia.

The captain’s clever free-kick that skidded underneath the Leganes wall got Valencia off to a perfect start on 14 minutes.

Leganes had only conceded five goals in their 10 previous La Liga games to climb into seventh.

However, the Madrid side’s lack of cutting edge up front was exposed as they went on to enjoy the better of the first-half but failed to take their chances as Claudio Beauvue blazed over and Javier Eraso fired too close to Neto in the Valencia goal.

On loan Paris Saint-Germain winger Goncalo Guedes has been Valencia’s star performer in recent weeks and the Portuguese was inches away from his fourth goal of the season when he struck the post early in the second period.

The hosts had to wait until 19 minutes from time to seal the points with a blistering counter-attack that ended with Spanish international Rodrigo heading home Manchester United loanee Andreas Pereira’s cross.

And the team-spirit in this Valencia side was demonstrated when habitual penalty taker Parejo let Mina take responsibility from the spot eight minutes from time to round off the scoring.

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