Valencia CF take three points at Mestalla against Athletic Club (2-0) February, 19 2017 - Valencia CF took a big victory against Athletic Club at Mestalla on Matchday 23 of the LaLiga season, with first half goals from Nani and Simone Zaza helping them to the win against the Basque side. The team’s tireless work throughout the game gave them a well deserved home triumph, and they went ahead early through amidst a spell of intense action. Zaza had sent a shot wide on 4 minutes, and Athletic’s Lekue had an effort saved by Diego Alves, before Nani found the net at the other end of the field; a lovely assist from Fabian Orellana allowed the Portuguese to put a left footed shot past Gorka Iraizoz in the Athletic goal. Athletic resorted to fast balls out to Iker Muniain and Raul Gracia in search of an equaliser, although VCF cut out the spaces with an organised defensive display in the first half. In the final moments of the first period, Valencia CF made it 2-0 with a first goal from Zaza. The move began with a ball won in the midfield, and a slick exchange of passes between Parejo, Orellana and Munir played through the Italian to finish for his maiden goal since joining the club in January. Just seconds into the second half, Zaza could have added to his account. He found an opening in the final third, but miscontrolled the ball and defender Etxeita was able to get across to put him off. Athletic Club coach Ernesto Valverde brought on Aritz Aduriz and Iñaki Williams in the second period to try and switch up the attack, but his plans suffered a setback when Aduriz went off injured –the former VCF player respectfully applauded by the home fans. With all three substitutions having been made, Athletic were reduced to 10 men on 57 minutes due to Aduriz’ withdrawal. The numerical superiority had a big impact on the game, and Valencia CF used a stifling strategy involving taking few risks. When they did go forward with intent, Munir came close to scoring with a shot over the crossbar, and Nani forced a save from Iraizoz. Valencia CF coach Voro used the returning Carlos Soler to replace Enzo Pérez –still not completely fit but having put in a tremendous effort. Soler had missed out on playing last weekend, due to suspension. Diego Alves provided a solid stop late on, when Williams sent a low shot towards goal, and kept a clean sheet as VCF claimed an important home victory. The 2-0 win gives the home side plenty of confidence for their next game at Mestalla. It takes place this Wednesday, as LaLiga leaders Real Madrid come visiting for a fixture postponed from December. Spanish Primera División Matchday 23 Mestalla, Valencia Valencia CF 2 vs. 0 Athletic Club Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Montoya (Cancelo, m. 79), Garay, Mangala, Siquiera, Parejo, Enzo Pérez (Carlos Soler, m. 70), Munir, Orellana (Bakkali, m. 84), Nani and Zaza. Athletic Club: Iraizoz, De Marcos, Bóveda, Laporte (X. Etxeita, m. 29), Eraso, San José, Saborit, Iturraspe (Williams, m. 53), Lekue (Aduriz, 53), Raúl García and Muniain. Goals: 1-0: M. 13: Nani. 2-0. M. 45: Zaza. Referee: Fernández Borbalán. Yellow card for Raúl García (Athletic Club). Copyright 2013-2016 Valencia Club De Fútbol. Quoting text from this article is permitted provided that en.valenciacf.com is credited as source, with a clickable link. Photographs by Lázaro de la Peña, re-use is not permitted.