Valencia a class above Liverpool


Valencia 2 Liverpool 0

Spanish champions Valencia continued to torment English clubs in the Mestalla stadium with a convincing 2-0 win over Liverpool in their opening European Champions League group B match on tonight.

Liverpool had no answer to the homesides fast and free flowing football which after only 20 minutes conjured up one of the best goals in Champions League's short history.

It came via the boot of Argentina's Pablo Aimar who shrugged off his recent fitness doubts to make the game, although he limped off midway through the second half.

The Argentine international sidefooted the ball beyond the reach of Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek after picking up a defence-splitting pass from Ruben Baraja.

Baraja put himself on the scoresheet seven minutes before the break with a right footed drive from just outside the area.

Later the Spanish international midfielder unleashed a vicious long-range thunderbolt which required an outstanding flying full-stretch save from Dudek to turn it over the bar.

Liverpool's best chance came shortly after Aimar had opened the scoring, when Emile Heskey dodged around the oncoming Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares.

However, Heskey's shot skimmed along the goal line and past the far post, only to be scooped up and cleared by the Valencia defenders as there were no men in red on hand to provide what would have been a simple tap-in.

The visitors' miserable night was completed 13 minutes from the whistle when German midfielder Dietmar Hamann was sent off for his second bookable offence, after clashing with Mista Ferrer, who was also booked.