Valencia 1-1 Levante
Alaves’ win against Villarreal earlier in the day meant that the stakes had been raised for Levante in the Valencian derby. It’s been a struggle of season for both teams and that was how the match turned out.
The tempo was relatively high in the opening minutes, with Giorgi Mamardashvili forced into an early save. Valencia were arguably less dangerous than the visitors but were playing well when the goal came. Goncalo Guedes slipped Jose Gaya down the left side, who lifted a cross up to the far post. A group of four converged on the ball, but Hugo Duro was the highest and strongest of the lot, heading in off the woodwork.
Gaya was in tears last week after the Copa del Rey final, but was in denial this Saturday night as the referee gave him no shortage of grief. Jorge Miramon and Gaya clashed as the latter tracked his run just two minutes after the goal, the former falling down and with a vague involvement of arms from Gaya, he was sent off by the referee.
That left Valencia feeling greatly wronged by the time they made it half-time and it would be up to Levante to break them down in the second half.
When they came out, they played with plenty of heart and desire. Jose Luis Morales, the pulse of this Levante, was the source of most of the danger. Clear openings against a stacked Valencia were hard to come by though – Enis Bardhi came closest when he rocked the bar.
Young left-back Jesus Vazquez, on to cover for Gaya, nearly nestled a shot in the top corner from a Guti-esque backheel, authored by Carlos Soler. Yet the only goal of the second half came from an unlikely source.
Naturally it was Morales with the cross, but Oscar Duarte managed his own thumping header into the corner for Levante. That occurred with around ten minutes to go and despite their best efforts, Gomez hit his own player with their best opening after that.
Valencia remain tenth and firmly in limbo, whereas Levante remain firmly in peril. Both Duro and Morales were frustrated when they came off – it might be happening less, but in this case at least they had plenty in common with their support.