Europa League: Swansea stun Valencia; Spurs have it easy
Swansea City produced a remarkable performance on their Europa League debut to thump Valencia 3-0 in Spain on Thursday, while Tottenham Hotspur also got their campaign off to a winning start.
Swansea’s Group A trip to the Mestalla was, on paper, the standout of all those played in the Europa League, but few could have imagined it would be so one-sided.
A Swansea side coached by former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Michael Laudrup and featuring six Spaniards, including captain Angel Rangel, punished opponents who played 80 minutes with 10 men to run out thoroughly deserving winners.
Valencia were already wobbling before French centre-back Adil Rami was sent off with 10 minutes on the clock for hauling back Wilfried Bony as the striker headed towards goal.
Soon after, the lively Bony converted a Michu cutback to give Swansea the lead, and Valencia, who have lost their last three matches in La Liga, never looked like recovering.
A section of the Valencia support staged a walkout in protest at their team’s recent form at the start of the second half, before Spanish duo Alejandro Pozuelo and Michu combined for the latter to double Swansea’s lead after 58 minutes.
Jonathan De Guzman then beat Vicente Guaita with a stunning free-kick five minutes later, the home supporters could only applaud, and Swansea might even have won by a greater margin.
Defoe grabs brace
Meanwhile, Tottenham also won by a 3-0 margin, although their victory against Norwegian top-flight strugglers Tromso in Group K was a little less dramatic.
A first-half brace by Jermain Defoe, which took him to within two goals of Spurs’ all-time leading European goalscorer Martin Chivers, effectively ended the contest inside half an hour. However, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, a recent signing, added a superb third goal.