Villarreal edge Espanyol in thriller, Valencia snatch vital Valladolid victory

Villarreal edge Espanyol in thriller, Valencia snatch vital Valladolid victory
Dani Parejo celebrates his goal midway through the second half
Dani Parejo celebrates his goal midway through the second half
Valencia picked up a priceless win with a late winner from Javier Moreno to move clear of the LaLiga drop zone after beating Valladolid 2-1 at Mestalla. In Tuesday night's other game, Villarreal saw off the challenge of Espanyol in a six-goal thriller.

Valencia 2 Valladolid 1

Javier Guerra Moreno scored a 93rd minute winner as Valencia came from behind to beat Real Valladolid 2-1 at Mestalla. A seventh consecutive meeting without defeat lifts Los Che out of the relegation zone with just seven games remaining.

Valencia came into this clash after ending an eight-match losing streak on the road, but home comforts failed to keep the good times rolling as Valladolid struck an early blow.

It was striker Cyle Larin doing the damage, as he seized on a defensive mishap by Mouctar Diakhaby and masterfully slotted the opener with a low drive to silence the Mestalla.

With Valencia earning six of their eight wins this season at home, hopes of a comeback were firmly in sight, with successive half-chances falling in favour of the hosts.

But the Blanquivioletas rarely allowed the hosts clear-cut opportunities, tactically stifling Ruben Baraja’s men in midfield and strengthening hopes of a first away win in seven league outings in this fixture as the break approached.

However, a strong start to the second period by Los Che indicated a shift in momentum.

Just as the clock struck the hour mark, Diakhaby made up for his error with a brilliant header, which lodged into the net largely thanks to a blunder by Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip, who let the ball slip by him thinking it would inch past the post for a goal kick.

Valladolid then came inches away from restoring their lead, with 18-year-old Ivan Fresneda rattling the woodwork.

With the final whistle on the horizon, Valencia upped the ante and got their reward, eventually scoring a last-gasp winner thanks to Guerra Moreno’s sleek effort into the top corner at the death which stunned the visitors.

A second victory in succession for Valencia lifts them into 16th and two points clear of the drop zone at this crucial stage of the season, while Valladolid's relegation fears are far from over with just two points seperating them from their hosts on the night.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Andre Almeida (Valencia)

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Villarreal 4 Espanyol 2

Villarreal got the better of relegation-threatened Espanyol in a six-goal thriller at the Estadio de la Ceramica, running out 4-2 winners to extend the visitors’ winless run to eight matches.

After losing two consecutive games, Villarreal channelled their frustration into a bombardment of Espanyol’s goalmouth in the first half, and Dani Parejo had the first meaningful chance of the contest, drawing a smart save from Fernando Pacheco with an effort from the edge of the box.

It proved to be a busy period for the Espanyol goalkeeper, who was also forced to make two stops in the space of four minutes, in order to thwart Giovani Lo Celso and Etienne Capoue.

Samuel Chukwueze then saw a close-range shot smothered, before Pacheco pushed Yeremy Pino’s deflected strike around the post.

After spending the majority of the first half under immense pressure, the visitors took a surprise lead against the run of play, when Villarreal failed to deal with an Espanyol corner.

The ball broke to Javi Puado, who thumped home the opening goal, giving his side a half-time lead for the first time in a LaLiga away game this season.

The discontent from the home faithful was palpable, but Villarreal emerged a different side after the break, and Capoue soon produced an unstoppable strike from distance to register his second league goal of the season.

Just after the hour mark, Quique Setien’s side were given the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot, when Cesar Montes was penalised for handball following a lengthy VAR review.

Parejo saw his spot-kick pushed onto the post by Pacheco, but the midfielder made no mistake from the rebound, guiding the ball into the empty net to mark his 100th LaLiga appearance for Villarreal with a goal.

But after falling behind, Espanyol were quickly gifted the chance to restore parity, when Martin Braithwaite pounced on a Pau Torres slip to tee up Joselu, who calmly swept the ball in off the post.

The two sides were not level for long though, as Nicolas Jackson found a decisive goal in the 80th minute, chopping the ball onto his left foot before firing home.

Capoue also had enough time to stroke home a fourth goal in the fading moments, before Edu Exposito was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge to compound Espanyol’s misery.

With this victory, the hosts move to within five points of the top-four, while Espanyol remain three points adrift of safety.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Etienne Capoue (Villarreal)

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