Inter stroll past Valencia
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Internazionale produced a stirring second half performance to thump Valencia 5-1 at the Mestalla.
Roberto Mancini's half-time team-talk should be bottled on this evidence, as goals from Dejan Stankovic, Christian Vieri, Andy van der Meyde, Adriano and Julio Cruz humbled Valencia.
Valencia, who grabbed a consolation through Pablo Aimar, can feel a little hard done by as they produced a stirring display of their own but were not as clinical as their opponents.
Chances were at a premium in the opening half at the Mestalla, as defences dominated proceedings.
Santiago Canizares only had one save of note to make, a free kick from Juan Sebastian Veron, but he should have been picking the ball out of his net on the half hour.
Vieri embarked on a run down the left and played a neat pass to Adriano, but the Brazilian guided a shot wide from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
Minutes later Emre shot into the turf when well placed, which allowed Canizares to gather, as Inter threatened to take control.
At the other end, Alberto Fontana justified his selection with a stunning save from Marco di Vaio who thought he had put his side ahead with a deft flick from Aimar's delightful cross.
Inter started the second half at a rate of knots and two goals in a minute by Stankovic and Vieri took the game away from Valencia.
Stankovic climbed highest to loop a header from a Giuseppe Favalli cross into the top corner for the first and before the Che had time to regroup, Vieri made it two.
The impressive Adriano shrugged off his marker and drove down the right and whipped in a cross which was not dealt with by Valencia and this allowed Vieri to settle himself before volleying past Canizares.
The second goal filled Inter with confidence and Adriano dipped into his box of tricks as he nutmegged David Navarro with a deft back-heel before slamming a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
To their credit, Valencia did not wilt and Aimar, Ruben Baraja, Francisco Rufete and Marco Caneira all went close.
Stankovic had a chance to stop Valencia in their tracks 25 minutes from time, but he screwed his shot wide.
Valencia continued to press for a lifeline and di Vaio thundered a shot against a post from 20 yards as they forced Inter further back.
Aimar did find a way to goal when thumping home di Vaio's cross, but the effort was short lived as van der Meyde climbed off the bench to restore his side's two goal cushion.
Adriano got the goal his play deserved when slamming home with ten minutes remaining as Inter took the wind out of Valencia's sails and Julio Cruz rubbed salt into the wounds with a late fifth.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||7|
|4||Shots off Target||8|
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