Valencia 3 - Servette 0
Cañizares; Curro Torres, Djukic, Pellegrino, Fabio Aurelio; Rufete,
Albelda, Kily González (De los Santos 75'); Aimar; Mista (Vicente 67'),
Salva (Carew 83'). 4-3-1-2.
Valencia virtually ensured themselves a place in the quarter finals after beating Servette 3-0 in the Mestalla stadium. Rafa Benítez picked an attacking side, hoping to take advantage of the Swiss side's inactivity during their winter break to sentence the tie in the first leg. The manager brought Pablo Aimar in to his starting line up behind Mista and Salva and the move paid off almost immediately, Aimar sending Rufete away in the third minute to set up the first goal, with central defender Hilton heading the ball past his own keeper in an attempt to clear. Servette came close to equalising when Djukic almost put through his own net a few minutes later, and Robert let the Spaniards off the hook in the first minute of the second half when alone in front of Cañizares.
However that was the end of their challenge, and Aimar extended Valencia's lead when Salva laid back Mista's ball in from the left. Ten minutes later Salva made it three after a defensive mistake left Kily free on the left, and with one eye on Saturday's game with Barcelona, Benítez took off Mista and then Kily to bring on the more defensive Vicente and De los Santos. Even so they could have extended their lead as the Swiss gave up the ghost in the final minutes, but the result should be more than enough to see them through in the second leg in Geneva next week. If they do qualify they could meet Héctor Cúper's Inter Milan in the next round, assuming that is that they win their tie at AEK Athens. Fans are already queuing for tickets.