Valencia Vain Crucial Win In Liga Survival Battle
Valencia youngster Javi Guerra struck a vital stoppage-time winner to help his side beat Real Valladolid 2-1 on Thursday and climb out of La Liga’s relegation zone.
Canadian striker Cyle Larin struck in the sixth minute after a lapse in concentration by Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby, who gave the ball away in his own half.
However, the Guinea defender made amends for his mistake for Valencia on the hour mark.
Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip thought Diakhaby’s header was going wide but it crept in for a bizarre equaliser.
With the clock ticking down it looked like Valencia would be held to a draw by Valladolid, 14th, who are not yet safe themselves.
However Guerra, 19, drove forward and fired into the top right corner on only his third La Liga appearance.
“I thought of my whole family and the team, we deserved this victory,” said Guerra.
“I’m from Valencia and to see Mestalla like this is so nice, this win is for the whole team.”
Villarreal moved fifth with their entertaining victory over Espanyol.
Etienne Capoue struck twice for the Yellow Submarine, who kept the Catalans submerged, now four points from safety.
Javi Puado sent the visitors ahead on Spain’s east coast but Capoue levelled, before Dani Parejo sent Villarreal ahead.
Joselu levelled for Espanyol but Nicolas Jackson struck in the 80th minute to tip the game back the hosts’ way and Capoue made the game safe in stoppage time.
Edu Exposito was sent off for Espanyol at the death to compound the visitors’ misery ahead of their key clash with fellow stragglers Getafe on Sunday.
Lucas Ocampos won and converted a late penalty for Sevilla to help the Europa League semi-finalists triumph 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao.
The Andalusians, unbeaten in seven games since coach Jose Luis Mendilibar arrived to replace Jorge Sampaoli in March, climbed up to 11th.
They are now 10 points clear of the drop zone after Mendilibar arrived with the team only two points above the bottom three.
Mendilibar has revived the club, helping them past Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals with a 3-0 win last week, before following it up with league wins over Villarreal and now Athletic.
Defeat at San Mames was a blow for Athletic’s hopes of wrestling their way into the battle for Europa League football next season.
Ernesto Valverde’s side are seventh, three points behind Betis in sixth.