La Liga Round 15 Results: Valverde's Valencia reign starts with win
A solitary second-half strike from Roberto Soldado ensured los Che's new coach got off to a flying start in the league, while Malaga cantered to an easy victory over lowly Granada
By Martin Macdonald
A last-gasp strike from Alvaro Negredo denied Espanyol a much needed Spanish Primera Division victory on Friday evening as Sevilla came away with a 2-2 draw at Cornella-El Prat.
The hosts actually got off to a good start, and edged ahead after just 13 minutes when Joan Verdu was fouled inside the area by Fernando Navarro. The Espanyol man picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty. However, Ivan Rakitic made it 1-1 with a penalty of his own 11 minutes later.
Sevilla were put down to 10 men just before the break when Jose Antonio Reyes received his second booking in seven minutes. Espanyol took advantage on the hour mark when Simao headed home from Mubarak Wakaso’s corner kick.
The relegation-threatened side were to be denied a win in the last minute, however. Negredo came off the bench to nod in from Coke’s whipped cross and earn a point for Sevilla.REAL SOCIEDAD 1-1 GETAFE
A scrappy affair between Real Sociedad and Getafe came to life in the last five minutes of play as both sides registered a goal to earn a point at the Anoeta.
Getafe thought they had stolen the points with five minutes remaining when Angel Lafita popped up inside the box to clinically head home from Jaime Gavilan’s cross.
However, there was to be further late drama. Alberto de la Bella found space on the wing and whipped a cross to the back post, and Carlos Martinez was there to direct a header into the roof of the net and secure a point for Sociedad.MALAGA 4-0 GRANADA
Malaga provisionally moved back into the Champions League places with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Granada on Saturday evening.
The opening stages of the match were fairly evenly balanced, but a horrible mistake from Papa Diakhate saw Malaga go ahead. The Senegalese defender slipped at the back which allowed Joaquin to run through on goal and convert past Tono in the Granada goal. Javier Saviola doubled the lead seven minutes later with a terrific touch and shot into the near post.
Granada came out of the blocks well after the second-half, and even struck the post through an Odion Ighalo strike. But Manuel Pellegrini’s men sealed the win and scored the third 15 minutes from time when the ball fortuitously deflected off the head of Ignacio Camacho and into the net following Joaquin’s free kick.
Roque Santa Cruz got among the goals five minutes from time when he chested down and smashed the ball into the bottom corner past Tono.
OSASUNA 0-1 VALENCIA
A goal from Roberto Soldado 10 minutes into the second-half ensured Ernesto Valverde’s tenure as Valencia boss started off in winning fashion with a victory over Osasuna on Saturday evening.
Mauricio Pellegrino was sacked last week as Valencia suffered yet another Liga defeat. However, Valverde’s reign started off well with an away win against Lille during the week, and Soldado sealed this win with a scrappy strike 10 minutes after the break. Tino Costa’s looped cross hit the crossbar and the striker was in the right place at the right time to blast home.
The match was an awful affair in truth with hardly any goalmouth action. Soldado could have made it two in the remaining minutes but forced a routine save out of Andres Fernandez. Valverde’s first Liga match as Valencia boss ends in a victory.
LEVANTE 4-0 MALLORCA
Mallorca’s run of games without a win stretched to 12 on Sunday as the Islanders were comfortably defeated 4-0 by Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia.
Dudu Aouate kept Mallorca in it with a few good saves in the first-half, but Levante eventually broke the deadlock two minutes before the break when Obafemi Martins showed strength and persistence to outmuscle Pedro Geromel before sweeping home. David Navarro doubled their advantage four minutes after the restart when he sent a looping header in off the post following a corner.
Ruben Garcia linked up with Martins before smashing the ball past Aouate at the near post to make it 3-0 to Levante. The win was rounded off just before the hour mark when Mallorca failed to clear from a corner kick and the ball found its way to Vicente Iborra, who drilled home.
ATHLETIC 1-0 CELTA VIGO
Athletic Bilbao recorded their first win in four games and put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone win a narrow 1-0 win over Celta Vigo at San Mames.
Iago Aspas had attempted to force the issue twice in the opening 15 minutes with long range strikes, but neither found their mark. Ibai Gomez also saw a strike go just wide from 20 yards out for Athletic. However, he turned provider just after the half-hour mark to cross in for Aritz Aduriz, who nodded past Javi Varas in the Celta goal.
The visitors became more of a threat as the game progressed, and Michael Krohn-Delhi and Enrique De Lucas both had decent opportunities to equalise, but Athletic ultimately held on for a vital three points.
RAYO 0-2 ZARAGOZA
Zaragoza ended a run of four matches without a victory on Monday, as they registered a 2-0 success at Rayo Vallecano.
Franco Zuculini opened the scoring for the Blanquillos on 21 minutes after taking full advantage of a loose ball in the box and the points were in the bag by the hour mark when Apono diverted Helder Postiga's header goalbound.
The result sees Zaragoza leapfrog Rayo into 13th place in the Liga standings.
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