Los Che score late to claim all three points in a drab encounter, which sees them into the top four of La Liga
Valencia ended their four-game winless streak with a 1-0 away victory over Zaragoza, their first triumph at La Romareda in five years.
The match was not one for the purists, with both teams struggling to craft much in the way of goalmouth action. In the end, a Jordi Alba strike eight minutes from time clinched the points for the Mestalla outfit.
The first half was starved for chances, with neither side showing much initiative to break the deadlock. Valencia edged play in terms of possession, but the opening period was largely defined by both side’s inability to find space around the opposition penalty area.
The most notable moment of the opening period came five minutes before half-time, when Sofiane Feghouli was booked for exchanging a few kicks with Efrain Juarez, after both players went to ground in a tussle for a loose ball.
The match continued in much the same vein after the interval, with goalscoring opportunities proving difficult to come by. Ever Banega’s deflected effort from a free kick caused Roberto a few problems, but the former Benfica man recovered well to save the shot.
Valencia fashioned a great chance to break the deadlock just before the hour-mark, when Roberto Soldado was found unmarked near the far post by Feghouli. The Spanish striker caught the ball cleanly with an overhead kick, but his effort went straight into the arms of Roberto.
The visitors slowly began to dictate play as the second-half wore on, but were struggling to turn their possession on the edge of the Zaragoza box into clear cut opportunities. They were almost caught on the counterattack by Juan Carlos’s enterprising run down the left flank, but Leo Ponzio fired his cutback just wide from the top of the box.
However, with the game seemingly destined to end in a stalemate, Unai Emery’s men finally managed to break through the Zaragoza back line to score the opening goal eight minutes from the end. Bruno found Jordi Alba in the area with a lofted through ball, and the young Spaniard evaded the attentions of Juarez and flicked the ball past the onrushing Roberto to seal the points for his side.
Valencia move into fourth place on 18 points as result of a well-earned triumph on the road, while Zaragoza remain in 14th place with nine points.