Valencia remained undefeated and took the lead of La Liga on goal-difference by beating Cordoba 3-0 on Thursday.
Valencia’s fourth win in five matches lifted them to the top of the table ahead of Barcelona and Sevilla on goal-difference.
Striker Paco Alcacer headed in Valencia’s 22nd-minute opener. Leftback Jose Gaya added a goal four minutes later, before Sofiane Feghouli rounded off the win in the 73rd minute.
After finishing last season in eighth place and missing out on playing in European competition this season, the team’s turnaround has come under first-year Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
“Since coach arrived, he has had a clear idea of what he wanted our playing style to be and we have played that way from the very first game,” Alcacer said.
Valencia’s rise has also come in the midst of a drawn-out purchase of the club by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim.
Valencia made several signings in the off-season that have immediately helped, such as defender Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Andres Gomes, and they are still waiting for former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo to recover from injury before he can debut.
Valencia controlled the match from the start at the Estadio Mestalla, with Gomes dictating the pace.
Alcacer used an exquisite glancing header to redirect Feghouli’s cross over the reach of goalkeeper Juan Carlos Corral and inside the far post.
“Sofiane’s cross was spectacular, I only had to put my head there to make the ball go in,” said Alcacer, who recently made his debut for Spain.
Gaya drilled in the second goal after Gomes made an incursion before losing the ball. Feghouli put the game out of reach for the visitors when he sent the ball in off the post.
Since drawing 1-1 in their first match, Valencia have scored three goals in each of their past four games, all wins.
Promoted Cordoba remained winless and in last place.
Defending champions Atletico Madrid are in fourth place, two points behind the top trio. Real Madrid are another two points behind in fifth.
Also on Thursday, RCD Espanyol beat Getafe 2-0 for their first win under new coach Sergio Gonzalez.
After a drab first half with one scoring chance for each side, Getafe carried the weight of the attack after halftime and Espanyol needed goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to turn back Miguel “Michel” Alfonso in the 49th minute, but Sergio Garcia put the hosts in control in the 66th when he volleyed Salva Sevilla’s gently placed lob beyond goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
Substitute forward Christian Stuani sealed the much-needed win for Espanyol in the 82nd minute when he scored from his own rebound.
Getafe went scoreless for the third straight game and recorded their fourth loss in five matches.
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