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Valencia boost their chances

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IOL pic nov8 uefa valencia bate borisov

Reuters

BATE Borisov's Alexandr Hleb (centre) is challenged by Valencia's Ricardo Costa (left) and Fernando Gago during their Champions League Group F soccer match at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia on Wednesday.

Valencia, Spain - Valencia boosted their chances of making the last 16 of the Champions League when Sofiane Feghouli struck twice to give the La Liga side a 4-2 win at home to BATE Borisov in Group F on Wednesday.

BATE strung some neat passing moves together in the early stages at a damp Mestalla but Valencia looked far more dangerous in attack than the Belarussian champions and took a deserved 26th-minute lead when Jonas bustled through a tackle and volleyed in from close range.

Soldado made it 2-0 from the penalty spot three minutes later, his fourth goal of the campaign following his treble in the 3-0 win at BATE last month, after Artem Radkov had felled Andres Guardado on the edge of the area.

Fernando Gago's fine assist released Feghouli to make it 3-0 six minutes into the second half before Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita failed to deal with Renan Bressan's inswinging freekick two minutes later and the ball squirted into the net at his near post.

Gago's defensive howler gifted BATE a second goal seven minutes from time but any hopes they had of snatching a point were snuffed out when Feghouli netted his second of the night in the 86th minute.

With four of six matches played, Valencia have nine points, level with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich after last year's runners-up thumped Lille 6-1 in the Bavarian capital. BATE have six in third with Ligue 1 club Lille on zero and already eliminated.

Captain Soldado, whose participation in the match was in doubt after a recent family bereavement, was lucky to be on the pitch to score his penalty after he lashed out with an arm at Maksim Bordachev early in the game.

The victory will further ease pressure on Valencia's Argentine coach Mauricio Pellegrino, who has made an erratic start to his first season in charge.

The 2000 and 2001 runners-up have a chance to seal their passage to the knockout round when they host Bayern on Nov. 20 before they play their final game at Lille on December 5.

BATE, meanwhile, continued their poor form away from home in Europe's elite club competition. They have won only one of their eight matches, losing four and drawing three. - Reuters


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