The attractive football preached by Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup was displayed to great effect when the Welsh side stunned 10-man Valencia with a 3-0 away victory in the Europa League on Thursday.
In their first season in Europ-ean competition for 22 years, English League Cup holders Swansea took advantage of defender Adil Rami’s 10th-minute dismissal to run riot in the Group A clash at the Mestalla with goals from Wilfried Bony, Michu and Jonathan De Guzman.
The opening group stage matches produced another shock in Eindhoven where PSV, one of five teams in action who have previously won the UEFA Cup or Europa League, were beaten 2-0 by Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad in Group B.
England striker Jermain Defoe struck twice in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 home Group K win over Tromso, his 19th and 20th goals in Europe for the London club. Substitute Kevin Gameiro’s goal lifted twice UEFA Cup winners Sevilla to a 2-1 win at Estoril in Group H and a second-half goal from Brazilian Hernanes secured Lazio three points with a 1-0 home victory over Legia Warsaw in Group J.
Swansea’s record signing Bony continued his prolific start after joining from Vitesse Arnhem in July for 12 million pounds ($19.27 million) with a powerful first-time finish from Michu’s centre, just minutes after Valencia had been reduced to 10 men. Ivorian Bony, with four goals in Europe this season, was set to race clean through before last man Rami impeded his progress and was shown a straight red card.
Spaniard Michu, whose first campaign in English football yielded 18 Premier League goals last season, again displayed his clinical finishing by doubling Swansea’s lead after 58 minutes from Alejandro Pozuelo’s pass.
A woeful night for Valencia, who won the 2004 UEFA Cup and were beaten finalists in successive Champions League finals at the turn of the century, was capped when De Guzman curled in a delightful free kick from 30 metres just past the hour.
PSV ‘keeper Jeroen Zoet’s misplaced clearance on the hour handed Ludogorets the opening goal in Eindhoven. Zoet rushed out of his area to clear a long ball but found only Roman Bezjak who stroked it back past him into the empty net. Phillip Cocu’s side conceded a second goal after 74 minutes when Virgil Misidjan put away the rebound after his shot struck a post.
Tottenham’s Defoe, yet to start a Premier League match this season with their Spain striker Roberto Soldado preferred up front, gave manager Andre Villas-Boas a timely reminder of his finishing abilities.