VALENCIA - Striker Roberto Soldado
again showed why Valencia signed him as David Villa's
replacement with a double in a 3-0 win over Rangers on Tuesday
that boosted the Spanish side's hopes of a Champions League last
Soldado had big shoes to fill at Valencia after Villa left
for Barcelona in the close season but he has quickly made his
mark after his move from Getafe.
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The striker, who also netted against Bursaspor earlier in
the group stage, scored at a corner after 33 minutes and then
raced away to seal the win in the 71st. Tino Costa added a third
at the end.
Valencia moved up to second in the group behind Manchester
United with seven points from four games, going two ahead of
third-placed Rangers with two left to play.
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"It was a vital game. We knew it was important we won this
one to put our future back in our own hands," Soldado told
"It was difficult because of their style of play and we knew
it would be tough to score a goal. The first came after a bit of
a rebound at a corner. That allowed us to play our own game, and
encouraged them to come out a bit because they had to win."
A high-tempo start saw both sides go close to breaking the
deadlock with Juan Mata being denied for the hosts after only
Scotland midfielder Naismith streaked away from the halfway
line on a counter-attack soon after, and cutting in off the left
flank let fly with a fierce drive which came back off the far
post in the eighth.
Allan McGregor saved from Mata, who should have done better
in the 12th minute, but the game settled down with Rangers
camped in their own half until Soldado scored.
McGregor was unable to get to a corner under the bar and
Soldado pounced on the loose ball, squeezing a shot inside the
Valencia continued to dominate and McGregor went full length
to keep out an Aritz Aduriz header early in the second period,
but he was unable to stop Soldado's effort after a swift one-two
with Mata on a break.
Rangers struggled to chase the game, though Naismith found
himself in space only to head against the post near the end, and
substitute Costa volleyed in off the post in the final minute
condemning the Scots to their first defeat this season.
"Our objective now is to be first in the group, to beat
Bursaspor at home and then get a win in Manchester," Valencia
coach Unai Emery told Spanish television.
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