Neville still winless after Valencia held by Getafe

Published 12/20/2015, 2:26 AM EST


MADRID (Reuters) – New Valencia coach Gary Neville remains without a La Liga win after his side twice recovered from a goal down to rescue a fortunate 2-2 draw at home to Getafe on Saturday.

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Valencia were held 1-1 at Eibar in Neville’s Spanish top-flight debut last weekend and while their latest performance showed promise it also underlined how much work he still has ahead to turn the Singapore-owned club’s fortunes around.

Valencia have 22 points in eighth after 16 matches, one behind seventh-placed Sevilla.

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The Europa League champions could only manage a 0-0 draw at city rivals Real Betis in a typically passionate derby littered with fouls and yellow cards and short on quality.

Sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna continued their strong run to pull away from Sevilla and Valencia on 26 point with striker Lucas Perez netting a pealty in a 2-0 win at home to Eibar.

Eibar, who are 10th on 21 points, could not make their numerical superiority count after Deportivo had Luisinho sent off with just over 20 minutes left.

Perez has scored in his last seven La Liga appearances, equalling the record for a Deportivo player held by former Brazil forward Bebeto.

Atletico Madrid can climb above Barcelona into top spot if they avoid defeat at Malaga on Sunday, when third-placed Real Madrid host neighbours Rayo Vallecano.

Barca, who play in the Club World Cup final against River Plate in Japan on Sunday, and Atletico each have 35 points, with the champions ahead on goal difference, while Real are on 30.

Celta Vigo are two points behind Real in fourth ahead of Sunday’s game at Granada, with Villarreal a further point adrift in fifth before they play at Real Sociedad.

CRACKING VOLLEY

Pablo Sarabia put Getafe in front in the 10th minute at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium and Paco Alcacer levelled for the home side with a cracking volley five minutes later.

The visitors were in front again in the 22nd minute thanks to a fine strike from Angel Lafita before Santi Mina made it 2-2 10 minutes before halftime with his first touch after coming on for the injured Jose Luis Gaya.

Valencia failed to make their superiority count after the break and Getafe had three clear chances to win the game late on as some worrying gaps opened up in the home defence.

Substitute Alvaro Vazquez was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from fullback Joao Cancelo two minutes from time before Lafita fluffed a volley in added time when unmarked at the back post and then crashed a drive off the top of the crossbar.

“We made things difficult for ourselves because when you allow teams to counter attack it’s always a problem,” former England defender Neville told a news conference.

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“It’s a shame because the effort was massive and the players gave their all,” added the former Manchester United fullback, who has a contract until the end of the season.

At Betis’s Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Sevilla forward Kevin Gameiro had the only two genuine chances of an ugly encounter but the Frenchman was denied each time by goalkeeper Antonio Adan.

Sevilla coach Unai Emery threw on former Spain pair Fernando Llorente and Jose Antonio Reyes with around 10 minutes left but they were unable to find a winning goal, leaving Betis in 11th on 20 points.

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Espanyol, with new coach Constantin Galca making his La Liga debut after taking over on Monday, climbed to 12th with a 1-0 home win over promoted Las Palmas, who remain mired in the relegation places.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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