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Primera División

  • May 11, 2011
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • RCDE Stadium, Cornella de Llobregat
  • Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
  • • Attendance: 28000

Espanyol 2-2 Valencia: Unai Emery's men fail to secure automatic Champions League spot after squandering lead

Espanyol 2-2 Valencia: Unai Emery's men fail to secure automatic Champions League spot after squandering lead

The visitors failed to capitalize on Villarreal's slip against Almeria in the earlier kick-off as the fight for third place continues

Valencia was unable to clinch the last automatic Champions League qualification spot after a hotly contested 2-2 draw with Europa League hopefuls Espanyol. Roberto Soldado capitalized on some dreadful defending early on to give Unai Emery's men the lead, but Pablo Osvaldo levelled proceedings shortly after.

Juan Mata restored Valencia's one-goal advantage just before halftime with a close range strike, but the club threw away its lead again when Ernesto Galan snatched a point late on to deny Valencia third spot in the standings.

The game started with the visitors pressing for the opener in the early minutes of the match, looking for space behind Espanyol's defence to exploit. Valencia created a glorious opportunity in the eighth minute, but Joaquin was unable to connect and poke the ball home.

Moments later, however, Soldado made no such mistake as he capitalised on some dreadful defending from Raul Rodriguez, intercepting a bad pass before firing a low shot from the right side of the box past Carlos Kameni.

Valencia continued to push, but wasted another clear-cut chance in the 17th minute when Soldado failed to make contact with a Joaquin cross from seven yards out with Kameni beaten. Unai Emery's outfit were made to pay for this mistake as in the following attack Osvaldo waltzed past the visitors' defence before slamming the ball past Cesar.

Ever Banega went close with a long-range shot minutes later as Valencia were tightening the grip. Their persistence paid off in the 25th minute when Mata tapped in a Bruno cross from just outside the six-yard box. The visitors held on to its lead and retreated at halftime with a one-goal cushion.

Espanyol had the chance to draw the game level just five minutes into the second half, but Luis Garcia blasted a volley from a difficult angle high and wide from just six-yards out after a good pass by Jose Callejon.

Three minutes later Soldado had the chance to put the game to bed after he was picked out by Mata near the penalty spot, but the striker sent his finish way over the bar under no pressure at all.

A magnificent intervention by David Navarro in the 64th minute prevented Espanyol from levelling the score as the defender cleared a cross for Osvaldo just outside the six-yard box with a spectacular touch.

Joaquin went really close in the 74th minute as he easily bypassed the hosts' defence before firing a shot right into the side netting. Valencia paid for the missed chances two minutes later when Galan finished clinically past Cesar to deny Emery's men an early automatic Champions League berth.

Despite the draw, Valencia remains in pole position to secure third place as the club sits five points ahead of Villarreal with only two more to go.

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