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Llagostera 0-2 Valencia: Jonas & Nelson Valdez ensure straightforward first-leg win
The South American duo secured victory as Los Che make a winning start to their Copa Del Rey campaign
By Ben McAleer
Valencia secured a comfortable 2-0 win away at Segunda Division B outfit Llagostera to get their Copa Del Rey campaign up and running.
The hosts’ fielded a strong starting XI, with coach Oriol Alsina looking to cause and early upset against the under-performing Primera Division side
Meanwhile, Los Che coach Mauricio Pellegrino named a significantly weakened squad for the trip to the Catalan side, taking only 16 players with him to the Estadi Municipal, and resting key starters Adil Rami, Joao Pereira and Roberto Soldado.
Billed as early favourites, it wasn’t a surprise to see the visitors muster the first clear-cut opportunity of the encounter, Brazilian Jonas fired a shot away but his effort was comfortably saved by Llagostera goalkeeper Jose Moragon.
The Catalan side then thought they had taken the initiative moments later only for Marc Sellares’ effort to be correctly ruled out for offside.
The hosts continued to press for the opener and came close through Pitu and Alberto Tito, but both were denied by the respective defensive exploits of Ricardo Costa and Ever Banega.
However, it was Valencia who began to control proceedings, and they finally made their dominance count on the stroke of half-time, with Jonas on hand to head home from a well worked free-kick involving Dani Parejo and Andres Guardado.
Los Che began the second half the stronger as they looked to put the tie beyond doubt and came close to doubling their advantage in the 52nd minute, only for Antonio Barragan to fire just over the crossbar from 25 yards.
Jonas felt he had netted his second of the evening four minutes, only to see his half volley chalked off for offside, despite replays suggesting it was the incorrect call by the referee’s assistant.
Sola Enric Pi then came within inches of equalising for the hosts, his free kick drifting just wide of the far post, but it mattered little, as Nelson Valdez extended the advantage for Los Che, the Paraguayan rising highest to head home from Parejo’s corner.
Llagostera were given a lifeline with eight minutes to go when Barragan brought down substitute Marc Serramitja in the 18-yard box, but Sellares was unable to capitalise, smashing his penalty against the post, despite sending Vicente Guaita the wrong way.
Despite late pressure from the hosts, Valencia held on for the win as they gear up for a tough weekend La Liga encounter away at Atletico Madrid, while Llagostera host Oriheula.
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