Valencia will go into the international break top of La Liga after they beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at the Mestalla.

The league leaders maintained their unbeaten start to the season after former Athletic striker Aritz Aduriz scored his fourth goal of the season and substitute Vicente sealing the result with a late second, although Igor Gabilondo ensured a frantic final few moments with a free-kick deep in injury time.

Roberto Soldado played a one-two with Pablo Hernandez on the right on 16 minutes, and after receiving the winger's smart backheel he fought his way into the area. The striker could have gone down in search of a penalty, but instead he got to the byline and chipped a cross in for Aduriz to head home from close range.

The goal was Los Che's fifth header of the season in La Liga, more than any other side.

Athletic struggled to handle Valencia's attacks, with Pablo a thorn in the side of teenage full-back Jon Aurtentxe throughout.

Juan Mata found Aduriz with a cute reverse pass, and the summer signing from Mallorca forced a good save from the foot of goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Mata then found the forward again with a weighted ball over the top of the defence, and Aduriz stabbed a shot wide with the outside of his boot.

Athletic's tall striker Fernando Llorente endured a frustrating evening, seeing one cross from Igor Martinez go just over his head and sending a glanced effort wide.

The introduction of Markel Susaeta at half-time and Gaizka Toquero soon after saw a much-improved performance after the break, and when Iker Muniain replaced the injured Javi Martinez Athletic had three strikers on the pitch.

However, for all their sustained pressure on the Valencia goal as the clock ticked down, they were unable to force Cesar Sanchez into making any significant saves.

Andoni Iraola's good run saw him cut the ball back to Susaeta who hit a solid first-time strike but it cannoned off Llorente, and Toquero fired his follow-up effort high into the stand.

Valencia doubled their lead on the break as Athletic committed more and more men forward. Chori Dominguez found fellow substitute Vicente in acres of space and the veteran midfielder turned past a tackle and fired past Iraizoz to put the result beyond Athletic.

Unperturbed, the Basque side rallied and at least got on the scoresheet with three minutes of injury time played. Manuel Fernandes conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Gabilondo curled into the top corner past the faltering Cesar Sanchez.

Athletic pushed desperately for a late leveller, but Valencia held on to seal the win which sees them travel to champions Barcelona after the international break as the unbeaten league leaders.

Team Line up:

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: César Sánchez, Miguel Ángel Moyà
Defense: Marius Stankevičius, Bruno Costa, David Navarro, Ricardo Costa, Jérémy Mathieu, Jordi Alba
Midfield: Mehmet Topal, Manuel Fernandes, Tino Costa, Sofaine Feghouli, Pablo Hernández, Juan Mata, Vicente Rodríguez
Strikers: Aritz Aduriz, Roberto Soldado, Chori Domínguez
Athletic Bilbao squad:
Goalkeepers: Gorka Iraizoz, Raúl Fernández
Defense: Mikel San José, Andoni Iraola, Mikel Balenziaga, Aitor Ocio, Jon Aurtenetxe
Midfield: David López, Igor Gabilondo, Markel Susaeta, Pablo Orbaiz, Carlos Gurpegi, Javi Martínez, Igor Martínez
Strikers: Gaizka Toquero, Fernando Llorente, Iker Muniain, Ibai Gómez