Parejo, who used to captain Valencia but switched to Villarreal in August, saying he had been forced out, barely celebrated his goal after his shot took a heavy deflection off Mouctar Diakhaby into the net in the 69th minute.

Paco Alcacer, another former Valencia player, had given Villarreal the lead with a penalty in the sixth minute although Goncalo Guedes levelled for the struggling visitors in the 37th.

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Villarreal had Japan international Takefusa Kubo sent off in added time for a second yellow card while Parejo then limped off the pitch with a muscle injury.

Yet Unai Emery's side saw out the win to lead the standings on 11 points after six games, one ahead of second-placed Real Madrid who were beaten 1-0 at home by Cadiz on Saturday.

Valencia were left 12th on seven. (Reporting by Richard Martin Editing by Toby Davis)

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