Los Rojiblancos continue their resurgence under Michel with a hard-fought victory away to the east coast side, who record their second successive league defeat
Valencia have slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against an improving Sevilla at Mestalla.
Tino Costa put the home side ahead with a powerful drive, but Gary Medel levelled the score with a headed effort. Twenty minutes from time Jesus Navas grabbed the winner, sweeping the ball into the empty net to clinch successive wins for the Andalusian side.
The first few minutes showcased what an even game this would prove to be. It was end to end stuff, with both teams exchanging corners. The hosts were looking the more composed side, and held the majority of possession, but were not creating much with it.
Los Rojiblancos were most dangerous from counterattacks. Early on, Jose Antonio Reyes' jinking run resulted in a free-kick, but Ivan Rakitic could only fire into the wall. Jesus Navas then had a brief glimpse at goal, but his shot was tame and easily saved by Vicente Guaita.
Then, on 25 minutes, Valencia went ahead. A beautiful passing move ended in Jordi Alba laying off the ball for Tino Costa on the edge of the area, to bend the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Los Che were perhaps a little complacent with their advantage, because only 10 minutes later they allowed a cross by Rakitic from the right to bounce in the area, and Medel through himself to head into the goal, bringing the sides level.
Sevilla had their tails up and won a number of corners in the next few minutes; Frederic Kanoute had a shot blocked after Alvaro Negredo’s strong run.
The visitors were still looking dangerous on the counter-attack. Adil Rami managed a crucial last ditch tackle to stop Negredo in his tracks after a skilful run, and Reyes then had a huge chance to put the underdogs in front, but his strike was saved well by Guaita.
Valencia, clearly affected by the 5-1 thrashing at Barcelona last week, were struggling to create chances. Sevilla on the other hand were creating many, and with 20 minutes remaining, Jesus Navas put the team in red ahead. It was a simple tap-in after Kanoute poked the ball past the goalkeeper Guaita, who was left embarrassed, as the winger took the ball into his stride to score.
The home support urged their side to go for an equaliser, but their opponents refused to budge, defending valiantly. Sevilla were never going to let their lead slip, and were able to see out what was a crucial victory for the southern side.
The result does not have too much of a bearing on Unai Emery’s team, who remain cemented in third position. Michel on the other hand will be happy with the way his side have turned round their poor form. After only taking two points from a possible 24 before last week’s game with Osasuna, they look as if they have turned the corner, and will be desperate to push for a European place.