A brace from Jonas gave Valencia a 2-0 Champions League Group F win at home to Lille.
It was an entertaining match, dominated by Valencia in terms of possession but with the French side dangerous on the break. It was settled by Jonas, who twice exploited shoddy defences to score.
A clinical finish by the Brazilian forward from inside the box into the bottom left hand side of the goal in the 37th minute gave Valencia the lead against a Lille team who were slowly coming into the game.
Despite Valencia manager Mauricio Pellegrino playing down the importance of this game, both teams were desperate for a win having both lost their opening matches in Group F. Valencia, however, were confident going into the match, given their great record at home against French opponents in European competition – with seven victories to their name against visitors from France.
An entertaining first half ended with Valencia dominating possession but with Lille looking dangerous on the break, the home side enjoying 60 per cent of the possession, in stark contrast to their opening match at Bayern Munich, where they were bullied by the Germans in a 2-1 loss.
Lille may have felt a little hard done by going into the break a goal down as they were slowly coming into the game, but this Valencia side is full of talent and they were hungry after an average start to the season.
Les Dogues took the early initiative at the start of the second half as Franck Beria played Ryan Mendes in, with the Cape Verdean winger worrying the Valencia defence in their area, before the danger was eventually cleared.
But there was also plenty of joy for Valencia on the right wing with Spanish defender Antonio Barragan and Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli combining very nicely, the pair continuing to cause danger for the visitors as the half progressed.
The second Valencia goal was fortunate in the manner it arrived but it still seemed on the cards as Lille were hesitating and making silly mistakes at the back - however Jonas almost did not celebrate as if to admit he did not intend to score with a looping cross that deflected off a defender and over stranded goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.
Things went from bad to worse for the French side as their captain Mathieu Debuchy got his marching orders for a second yellow card in the final minutes.
It wasn not a great atmosphere at the Mestalla by any means as the home fans did not turn up in numbers. Indeed it was the away fans who made the trip south doing most of the singing and gave a better account of themselves than their team.
With Bayern slipping to a 3-1 defeat unexpectedly against BATE Borisov tonight, this result will give Valencia plenty of confidence going into the next round of games.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jonas (Valencia): An all-round solid performance from the Brazilian who got both goals and was well supported by the strong midfield pairing of Costa and Gago.
VALENCIA: Guaita 7, Barragán 6, Carlos Delgado 7, Víctor Ruiz 7, Cissokho 7, Gago 6, Tino Costa 7, Feghouli 7, Jonas 8, Guardado 7, Soldado 7. SUBS: Parejo 6, Valdez 6.
LILLE: Landreau 6, Debuchy 5, Béria 6, Chedjou 6, Basa 6, Balmont 6, Gueye 6, Pedretti 6, Payet 7, Mendes 7, Roux 6. SUBS: De Melo 6, Digne 6, Rodelin 6.