Valencia, Spain, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Levante bested a disappointing Valencia side 1-0 in Friday’s derby to vault to eighth place in LaLiga.
Their first victory against their cross-town rivals in eight matches since March 2016 lifted Levante to 32 points, 2 more than Valencia in the 12th spot.
Valencia made the brighter start, but the initiative passed to Levante as the minutes passed and the pressure on Jasper Cillessen’s goal mounted.
Cillessen caught a break when the post denied Jorge De Frutos, but the reprieve didn’t last long.
The breakthrough came in the 18th minute as Roger Marti converted a pass from Rochina, who got an unwitting assist in the form of a giveaway by Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby.
Though Diakhaby’s error set the stage, the goal was a well-deserved reward for Levante’s superior work rate and intensity against a Valencia squad that has been poor away from the Mestalla.
Though the hosts never dominated, they remained in control and Marti should have had a second goal thanks to yet another blunder by Diakhaby.
Only in the final 15 minutes did Valencia go forward with purpose and Manu Vallejo created some work for Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez.
“They began better than we did, it took effort from us to see the options, but we re-focused and later on the counter we could have scored more goals,” winning coach Paco Lopez said.
“There are important moments during the season and today was one of them. We came from a Copa (del Rey) elimination where we had a lot of hope and ended up playing a poor match,” he said, referring to Levante’s semifinal loss last week to Athletic Bilbao. EFE cta/dr