Valencia: Valencia celebrated their imminent takeover by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim and underlined their fine early-season form with a rousing 3-1 victory at home to Elche in La Liga on Saturday.
A beaming Lim, whose bid for the debt-ridden club is close to being finalised after 12 months of talks, was at a festive Mestalla as strikes from Shkodran Mustafi and Dani Parejo and an own goal by David Rodriguez lifted Valencia within two points of leaders Barcelona, beaten 3-1 at Real Madrid.
Lim`s takeover hinged on striking a deal with Spanish lender Bankia on the club`s debts of 320 million euros ($405 million), agreement on which was finally sealed late on Friday.
Valencia, who last won La Liga in 2004 and were losing Champions League finalists in 2000 and 2001, are looking to return to the top in Spain and Europe after a decade of financial struggles and underachievement.
Under the new regime they also plan to restart the construction of a half-built new stadium with the aim to complete it in time for their centenary in 2019.
"It has been a very long journey, longer than we would have liked," close Lim associate Chan Lay Hoon told the club`s website (www.valenciacf.com).
"We have spent close to a year on this project," she added. "We have come to appreciate the rich history and culture of both the club and the city.
"Singapore, where we all come from, only has a short history of 49 years of independence.
"We admire the rich culture and history that you have. We also want to create value for this city and let the world know more about this beautiful city.
"This is because after today, the city of Valencia will be
our second home."
Barca lead La Liga with 22 points from nine games, with Real second on 21 and Valencia, who failed to qualify for Europe this season, third on 20.