Football

Valencia closes in on CL contention

A brilliant double from Goncalo Guedes saw Valencia move into fifth place in La Liga as it recorded an impressive 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday to move into closer contention for the fourth and final Champions League place.

Guedes struck almost identical efforts from outside the box either side of halftime to move Marcelino’s side on to 52 points, leapfrogging Betis’s local rival Sevilla in the process.

Valencia, which has lost just one of its last 22 games in all competitions and has reached the semifinals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey, was good value for the victory even though it ended with 10 men after the dismissal of Rodrigo.

It caused its host numerous problems throughout an entertaining first half that saw both teams share the chances until Guedes produced a brilliant breakthrough moment with stoppage time almost complete.

As he picked up the ball just outside the box, there appeared little danger but the Portugal forward skipped past the challenge of Marc Bartra and arrowed a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner past Pau Lopez.

Three minutes after the restart, Guedes produced a carbon copy of the finish after Betis failed to clear a corner.

Giovani Lo Celso halved the deficit from the penalty spot with 13 minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish for Betis during which Rodrigo was sent off for a second yellow card offence and Kevin Gameiro forced a smart save from Lopez on the break.

Ultimately Betis, whose fans voiced their displeasure with coach Quique Setien throughout the second half, was unable to find an equaliserThe Andalusian side remains in ninth place on 43 points.

The results: On Sunday: La Liga: Villarreal 2 (Bacca 64, Toko Ekambi 80) bt Leganes 1 (Nabil El Zhar 87-pen); Real Betis 1 (Lo Celso 78-pen) lost to Valencia 2 (Guedes 45, 49).

Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin 0 drew with Hanover 96 0.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 8:01:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/valencia-closes-in-on-cl-contention/article26914268.ece

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