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April 1, 2012
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 40000
A. Koné 54'
Valencia are now alone in three place, but this draw is not what they wanted nor what they needed. A poor result it is, as Levante look to have earned a precious point away as they remain in the hunt for European football. Be sure to stick with Goal.com for the match report, player ratings and reactions of this match. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and it's been a pleasure.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
90' + 4'
That's it! Game over. 1-1 finish at Mestalla! Each team escapes with a point, when both surely could have secured all three. What a thrilling contest!
90' + 3'
A set piece is awarded for a foul on Costa, and his ball flies into the face of the goal but nobody gets a touch on it!
90' + 2'
Valencia are on the counter here as time is running out!
Kone comes off the field with an apparent injury as we enter added time.
Suarez comes on for Botelho. This one looks all but over.
I can't believe it! Pablo Hernandez does a fantastic job to send a ball into the box, finding Alcacer perfectly! His powerful headed flies to the middle of the goal, where the Levante custodian saved it well with his two hands!
Five minutes to go in this one. Time is running out.
KONE!!!!! NEARLY!!! A ball from Botelho from the left sees Kone get a touch right in front of goal but it rolls just by the far post!
Abdel Kader Ghezzal
10 minutes to go in this one.
Los Che dodge a huge bullet as Kone was played into the box on the counter but Guaita did well to come out and scoop up the ball just in time.
The fans are letting their feelings known in the form of screams and whistles. This home side hasn't found their form in over a month. Time is winding down as Valencia possess the ball in the back.
Albelda comes off for Tino Costa, while Feghouli is off for Piatti. Huge 13 minutes remaining here. Could make or break the season for Valencia.
This result would give Valencia sole possession of third place by just a point, but Emery really needs a win. Could it come here? Feghouli wins a corner after a run down the left.
Iborra comes on for Farinos, a former Valencia player. 15 minutes to go.
Long ball from Barkero looks to Valdo at the right side of the box. Too much power sees it go out for a throw as Valencia regain possession.
Valencia have 72 percent of possession on the day. But, that isn't the number that matters. The 1-1 tells you everything. Having the ball does lead to chances, but you have to finish them, which Valencia can't at the moment. Changes coming in a moment.
JONAS! After minutes of constant possession, Valdo loses the ball to Mathieu at the top of the box. The defender touched the ball quickly to Jonas, just a yard to the right, and the Brazilian fired a low shot that beat the goalkeeper and the post.
Yellow Card Barkero
On the counter, Valdo marches towards goal but is cut down by Mathieu, who tackled the former Real Madrid man with speed and power, just before entering the box.
There is so much space on the right for Valencia to attack, but Levante are closing the gaps quickly, showing fantastic cohesion in the back.
Frustration continues to build as Los Che can't get that final crucial pass to lead to a good look on goal. Emery is telling his guys to play more down the centre of the pitch and then to go wide. Let's see if it works.
Several players are warming up on the side for the home team. Tino Costa and Pablo Piatti seem like the most likely to come on. Youngster Paco Alcacer may get a chance as well.
Levante are pressuring strongly as they continue to frustrate Los Che. There is tons of space for the visitors if they can just get by the middle of the pitch.
Jonas tries a shot on goal from the left side of the box but his effort didn't have enough power as Munua did well to save it to his right along the ground.
Emery tries to lift his team from the side, talking with them with the hopes of adding some motivation. He needs for it to pay off. Just over 30 minutes left in this one. Things are getting interesting. Expect to Pablo Piatti shortly.
Well, an important three points for the home side looks set to be just one with this current score. Poor, poor defending has allowed Levante to bring things level.
Goal Arouna Kone
Goal Levante! 1-1 at Mestalla! It's KONE! The African attacker scores! A cross from Barkero finds Valdo at the second post, and the midfielder proceeded to held the ball softly to Kone in front of the goal, where the striker finished with a strong bullet past the home custodian!
Yellow Card Juan García García
Yellow for Juanfran, who takes down Barragan with a tackle on the right.
Victor Ruiz tackles Kone inside of the box but appeared to have touched the ball first. No foul.
A curving cross flies towards the back post, but nobody gets a touch on it as it passes the bye-line.
The hosts do nothing with the corner but win a free-kick thanks to Pablo, who is fouled from 25 yards out. Parejo to take it.
Valencia on the counter after Barkero is stopped in attack. Corner to Los Che after Mathieu's cross is deflected out.
The second half has started. No changes for either side.
At the break, it's 1-0 to Valencia. The second half will begin shortly! Can Levante comeback and earn a point?
That's the end of the first half!
Albelda stops Kone on the counter to regain possession. Little time left here in the first period. Emery will surely take this result into the break after a fairly poor first half.
Few minutes to go here as Barkero is called offside down the left. Valencia are aiming to just pass the ball around and see off these final moments of the first half.
Victor Ruiz gives Levante a corner after deflecting a dangerous cross from the left. On the ensuing play, the visitors do nothing as the hosts escape a bit of danger thanks to poor execution.
It took a while to see the first goal, but it was a glorious one that lifts the spirits of the Mestalla faithful. Little bit of time before the break and Los Che are aiming for their second.
Assist Sofiane Feghouli
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! VALENCIA! Jonas scores the opener with ease after his teammates did well to create the chance! On the counter, Aduriz cuts at the top of the box with three defenders on him, before splitting them with a low ball to Feghouli. The midfielder, who gained the ball inside the box on the left, played a soft ball past the oncoming goalkeeper to find the Brazilian, who finished easily into the open net.
Yellow Card Parejo
Yellow card for Parejo for rocking Valdo down the right.
Levante, playing calmly and with ease, march forward with Kone heeling a ball towards the top of the box which Xavi Torres drills high and wide!
Pablo gets space on the right and paces towards the bye-line before sending in a lofted ball that flies across the face of goal. Looked like it had a chance to sneak in at the far post, but the curve kept it out.
Kone! Oh my! After a cross from Barkero on the right, the former PSV man did a great job to get by Victor Ruiz with a quick cut but his right-footed effort came off more like a pass than a shot. Poor.
Yellow Card Pablo Hernández
Yellow Card Gustavo Daniel Cabral
That effort sums up Valencia's day so far and most of the last month. Feghouli plays a ball to Mathieu in the left corner, and the defender sent in a cross that round row b.
Speaking of golden chances, Mathieu wasted a nice one from the left side of the box after a ball over the top found the France-born player with tons of space. Ballesteros and Pedro Lopez were there to make the shot nearly impossible to put on frame at the front post as the effort was deflected.
Bit of an eventful last few minutes with the ball being caught up in the middle of the pitch. The visitors are in charge, defending well and making things difficult for Emery's guys. Levante are still looking for their first golden chance after 22 minutes.
Feghouli makes up for it after Valdo was sent into the box on the right. The Valencia starlet used his speed to slide in and frustrate the midfielder's shot, which looked to be headed on frame.
Yellow Card Sofiane Feghouli
Yellow to Feghouli. Dumb decision by the player. After losing the ball to Valdo in attack with a poor pass, the midfielder proceeded to take down the Levante man with a rugby tackle. Frustration comes out.
Barkerooooooo! Over the bar! The Levante man looked for the right post but his curving effort had too much power.
Foul by Albelda at the top of the box on Botelho. From 20 yards out, this is a clear free-kick chance!
Emery's men have improved over the last few minutes, regaining possession and looking calm and confident on the ball. Can they continue?
WOW! UNBELIEVABLE! How did he miss that? Feghouli is sent into the box before firing a low ball across the face of goal. The ball appeared to have his Parejo's hand in the middle, but nothing is called. Aduriz went to slide for a shot off the rebound from a couple yards out, but Munua met him well to deflect the effort. The ball then found Parejo in front of goal, but his quick shot somehow flew over the net! What a wasted chance for the home side!
All the momentum to the visitors at the moment as they are attacking with numbers. Valencia look a bit lost with the ball but are defending decently at the moment. They certainly need to regain possession and slow things down.
Levante go on the counter, with Kone ultimately ending up with the ball in the box. The African attacker made a little move to the inside and fired a shot that deflected off a defender before finding the hands of Guaita.
Barragan runs from the middle of the pitch all the way to the bye-line, cutting around and by defenders, looking to send in a ball. The Valencia man took too big of a touch on his last one, with the ball going out of bounds.
Shot of Emery on the sideline. He doesn't look comfortable at all and rightfully so. The pressure is on and this game could go a long way towards determining if he has a job.
Mathieu does his best impression of Rami, sending in a low ball to Aduriz, but the former Mallorca man again can't get a good touch.
It's Levante's turn with the ball, controlling it down the right side and sending in two consecutive crosses, but the hosts manage to clear.
Early chance! Valencia start well with lots of energy, passing the ball around and moving into space. Rami managed to get the ball on the right and sprinted down the flank before sending in a quality cross into the heart of the box. Aduriz went up for it, aiming to get a touch with an awkward volley, but he just couldn't make quality contact, despite being fairly unmarked.
The match has started! Here we go!
The teams are heading onto the pitch now. The game is set to start in moments!
Aritz Aduriz is getting the start, playing aboive Sofiane Feghouli, Jonas and Pablo Hernandez. Be sure to keep an eye on the Spanish striker. He has been able to find the net this season, but not nearly enough as he has seemingly wasted scores of chances. Today, he can't afford to do so.
For the Europa League contenders: Guaita, Barragan, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Albelda, Parejo, Pablo, Feghouli, Jonas, Aduriz.
First, for the visitors: Munaa, Pedro Lopez, Ballesteros, Cabral, Juanfran, Valdo, Xavi Torres, Iborra, Botelho, Kone, Barkero.
One thing is certain, though. The home fans won't see the familiar stars that they usually see, as Jordi Alba and Roberto Soldado will miss the match due to suspension. Who will replace them? Find out in seconds with the starting XI for each side.
It's sure to be an entertaining clash, the fourth one of the season between the teams. With one league meeting and two in the Copa Del Rey, Valencia have won each. A fourth will prove tough, but there may not be any other option for this team at the moment.
The hosts sit in third with 47 points, tied with Malaga, who lost 2-0 to Betis. A win here would give the team a little cushion, but a loss would see fifth-place Levante tie them on points.
Both of these teams are fighting for a place in Europe next season. It appeared as if Los Che had third place locked up after a good start to the campaign, but as we reach the final stretch, the team is struggling. Three consecutive losses, including one in the Europa League, has Unai Emery's future in doubt. He can take a bit of the pressure off with a win today.
As always, you can get involved via Twitter by sending messages to @RCGonzalez10
Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and I'll be providing updates from the big derby. Valencia host Levante at Mestalla with plenty at stake for both clubs.
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