Unai Emery’s side produced a far better display then they did at Ibrox two weeks ago and the return of influential winger Joaquin on the right wing helped to inspire Los Che.

A double from Roberto Soldado and a late strike from Tino Costa secured the win for the home side although Rangers did have chances throughout the contest.

Walter Smith was able to name the same side that faced both Manchester United and Bursaspor in Europe this season and the good news for the traveling Bears was that Mo Edu won his fitness race and was in the starting line-up.

As expected Valencia made a positive start to the game and with two minutes played David Albelda played a delightful pass over the Gers defence and Allan McGregor had to turn Juan Mata’s shot around the post.

In the next attack Ever Banega jinked his way past Edu but his powerful effort was straight at the keeper.

On eight minutes, however, Rangers almost caught the Spaniards off guard and came an inch away from taking a dramatic lead.

Steven Naismith found acres of space down the left wing and after cutting in side David Navarro his stunning right took a deflection off Ricardo Costa before smashing off the post.

It was end to end stuff in the opening stages and on 12 minutes Valencia carved open the next chance.

The electric Joaquin glided past Sasa Papac and found Aritz Aduriz who had darted in to the box.

His cut back found Mata but his effort from eight yards brought out a wonder save from McGregor.

Emery’s men were clearly up for this and on 21 minutes a Steven Naismith foul on Joaquin gave the home side another chance to test the Gers backline.

On this occasion it was Mata who delivered a wicked cross and Aritz Aduriz’s header flew past McGregor’s left hand post.

With Valencia pushing players forward Rangers were then given another chance to launch a counter attack and when Steven Whittaker got the ball on the right he skipped past a defender and his low cross was nervously put out of play for a corner by French stopper Jeremy Mathieu.

Valencia, however, always looked a threat going forward and on 33 minutes their talented no. 9 Soldado opened the scoring with a scrappy goal.

A corner was delivered high in to the Gers’ six yard box and it fell to the Spanish striker who squeezed the ball past Sasa Papac at McGregor’s near post to find the net.

The goal lifted the home support and the Valencia players and for the remainder of the half Rangers had to ensure they did not concede another.

They managed that and the second-half started with the visitors still very much in the game.

Valencia, however, again came flying out of the traps with their passing crisp and their movement off the ball impressive.

On 47 minutes a deep corner from Joaquin dipped at the back post and Naismith had to be alert to punt the ball away from the danger area.

And before the hour mark McGregor had the Valencia fans applauding when he palmed away a powerful header from Soldado who thought he had scored. 

With only a goal separating the sides there was an air of nervousness in the Mestalla and on 58 minutes another swift counter attack from Gers caused panic.

Naismith latched on to a slack pass and after sprinting 30 yards with the ball he found Miller.

The Scotland star cut back inside on to his left but his curling effort did not have the accuracy to beat Sanchez.

It was better from the home side who were now getting more bodies up the park.

This, however, was also leaving gaps at the back and on 70 minutes Valencia exploited this situation when they netted their second.

Soldado found space on the right and although he had the option to cross he drilled a shot which beat McGregor despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

Rangers now had a mountain to climb and having played so many games in recent weeks it was Everest that was in front of them.

They never gave up and with eight minutes left Naismith again hit the post, this time with a header from a Madjid Bougherra cross.

With 90 minutes played Valencia added a third when a cross found substitute Tino Costa who found the net with an accurate volley. 

Despite the scoreline in Spain a 3-0 victory for Manchester United against Bursaspor means that Rangers remain in a good position to achieve their objective of securing European football after New Year with the Europa League looking the likely route.

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