Historic win for Swansea in Valencia
‘I am so pleased for everybody because now they know they can play against the biggest clubs in the biggest stadiums’
Wilfried Bony of Swansea City scores the opening goal against Valencia during the Uefa Europa League Group A match at Estadi de Mestalla. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images
Valencia 0 Swansea 3: Swansea recorded the most famous win in their history as their Europa League campaign began with a dismantling of 10-man Valencia.
The home side were forced to play 80 minutes with 10 men after defender Adil Rami saw red for hauling down Wilfried Bony. The striker went on to give Swansea the lead in the 14th minute with his fifth goal in eight games, firing home with the help of a deflection.
Michu and a wonderful Jonathan de Guzman free-kick completed the scoring in the second half as the Swans cruised to victory at a stunned Mestalla.
“It was a fantastic game,” said Laudrup. “Of course a red card early in the game has an influence but in my many years in football I have seen sides go down to 10 at home in these kind of games and still win. But we dominated the game from the first minute to the last minute.
“We scored three goals, and before the second we had two or three huge chances to score and it could have been even more. I am very pleased about winning here against a big side like Valencia.”
Laudrup added: “It sets us up for the next five games. No-one expected us to get three points in Valencia and now we have the next two games at home. If we don’t win the next game at home we’re back where we started, but we can be happy today about this great result. I don’t know whether we are favourites (to top group), I wouldn’t say so after one game. Not many expected this but it is only one result out of six.”
He continued: “I have only been here for 15 months so others can say where this ranks in the club’s history, but it is a fantastic evening and fantastic result. I’ve had some great nights as a manager, it’s difficult to take in because this has only just happened. But I am so pleased for everybody because now they know they can play against the biggest clubs in the biggest stadiums without any problem and that’s great to see. There were lots of our fans here. I think they had a great night, one of those to remember, this experience is great for them.”
There have been more important victories in Swansea’s 101 years, but there will have been few as eye-catching as this, adding another remarkable chapter to their remarkable rise from League Two to the Premier League, Capital One Cup glory and this European campaign.
Valencia, two-time Champions League finalists, had only lost to English opponents on three previous occasions here, but they were in trouble from the moment Rami saw red after Bony threatened to race clear of the Frenchman, and the referee quickly had the card out of his pocket as Bony went to ground.
The Ivory Coast international got the opener shortly after as Alejando Pozuelo and Michu combined for him to rifle home.
Pozuelo, an exciting presence throughout, was involved again when his excellent pass teed up Michu for the second in the 58th minute. And De Guzman rounded matters off with a spectacular strike four minutes later to leave the Welsh club in dreamland.