The visitors put an end to a two match league losing streak with victory, but it was a nervy performance over the impressive home side, who remain in a relegation battle
Valencia got their season back on track with a 1-0 victory over Granada, in a fiery encounter at Los Carmenes.
Sofiane Feghouli put the visitors ahead in the first-half, with a shot that squirmed through the hands of goalkeeper Julio Cesar. The home side rallied, but could not find an equaliser, allowing the visitors to clinch the points after two consecutive league defeats.
The game started with Unai Emery’s side being hustled and harried, and not being allowed to gain a foothold in the contest.
Chances were few and far between early on. It took 18 minutes for the first real attempt, defender Inigo Lopez failing to make contact with the ball after a corner was bent into the six yard box.
A couple of minutes later the visitors responded. Jeremy Mathieu managed to keep the ball in play, clipping in a cross for Roberto Soldado, but the in-form Spain striker could only head over. Soldado then found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Cesar made himself big to block the effort.
Los Che were starting to take control, and this told as the deadlock was broken just after the half-hour mark. The Brazilian Jonas slid Feghouli through on goal, who cut back onto his left foot to strike the ball towards the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. Cesar got a hand on the shot, but it agonisingly trickled past the line.
Valencia had a chance to make it two near the end of the half, but Jordi Alba’s volley skimmed the crossbar.
However, it was Granada who came out firing in the second half. Udinese loanee Jaime Romero hit the post cut in and with his left foot, struck the ball straight at the near post. Vicente Guaita was beaten, but the post came to his rescue.
The visitors were under the cosh, but were looking dangerous on the counterattack. Ten minutes after the break, Soldado pulled the ball back for Tino Costa on the edge of the area, but he could only steer the ball wide of the right-hand post.
The home side were on top, but were not showing the cutting edge that was needed to find an equaliser. Valencia must be given credit for their defensive showing though, with centre pairing Adil Rami and Victor Ruiz Torre looking unbeatable.
Time was running out for the southern side; a chance from a free-kick was wasted by midfielder Abel, whose shot was gathered in easily by the impressive Guaita. The home side then had the ball in the net late on, but three players were in offside positions, and they could not make their impressive performance count.
The result means that Valencia are now six points clear of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao, and look odds on for Champions League football next year. Granada remain four points above the relegation zone.