MADRID (AFP) - After playing a pivotal role in Spain's qualification for the World Cup, David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata were all on target in a 4-2 win at Valladolid on Sunday as Valencia joined Barcelona and Real Madrid on a maximum six points.
Cash-strapped Valencia somehow managed to hold onto the trio in the summer and they were a cut above tearing Valladolid apart with four goals in less than an hour.
Silva opened the scoring with a 10th minute header from Mata cross before a mistake from Valencia goalkeeper Miguel Moya helped Valladolid equalise.
However, Valencia have so much firepower in their side and Spanish international Villa bagged a brace (34 min, 55) with Mata also on target.
Valencia should have scored more with Villa hitting the bar and substitute Jordi Alba, 20, missing a sitter to score his first ever goal for the club.
New Villarreal coach Ernesto Valverde is still waiting for his first win in charge after his side drew 1-1 at home to Real Mallorca.
Italian international forward Giuseppe Rossi put Villarreal ahead on 54 minutes but Borja Valero, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, equalised with a 75th minute free-kick.
It was the second game in succession that Villarreal have taken the lead only to be pegged back and two 1-1 draws are not the start Valverde wanted.
"These are the type of games that leave a bad after taste in the mouth," said Valverde. "We had one hand on victory and then let it slip. It is two more points dropped."
Mallorca, who finished last season like an express train, climb into fourth with four points from six.
Malaga drop to fifth after a late 1-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna.
Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis, courted by Barcelona in the summer, scored the decisive goal nine minutes from time with a 25-yard scorcher.
"It was a great goal from distance and now we are wishing he had gone to Barcelona," joked Malaga coach Juan Ramon Muniz.
In other matches, promoted islanders Tenerife won their first game in the Spanish top-flight for seven years with a 2-1 triumph over nine-man Osasuna.
Osasuna, another team expected to be in the relegation dog-fight, pulled level at 1-1 but had to play close to half of the match with ten men after having Nacho Monreal sent off.
Ricardo Brito scored the Tenerife winner on 63 minutes and Osasuna had another player dismissed when Javad Nekanoum got a straight red for violent conduct.
Barcelona and Real currently lead the way at the top of the Spanish league with a maximum six points. Barcelona are top on goal difference after beating Getafe 2-0 on Saturday while Real ran out 3-0 winners at Espanyol.
It is expected to be another two-horse race this season but Real midfielder Esteban Granero said it was vital that Real didn't start to look at what arch rivals Barca were doing.
"We are not thinking about Barcelona," said Granero. "There have only been two games and we should only think about Barcelona when we come up against them.
"Our battle is not with them but with each game and if we change it will be bad for us."
Barcelona have five more points than last season - when they collected a single point from the first two games - and go into Wedneday's Champions League tussle with Inter Milan in high spirits.
Real are in Champions League action on Tuesday at FC Zurich as they begin their bid to reach the final which will be played at their Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
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