MADRID (AFP) – Valencia moved back into second place in La Liga as they extended their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw away at Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Carles Gil’s early volley had Los Che on target to join Barcelona at the top of the table, but Real were deservedly level before half-time when Sergio Canales’s cross found the far corner.
Still without star summer signing Alvaro Negredo due to a foot injury, Valencia lacked the firepower to find a way through after the break.
However, a point was still enough to edge them ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference ahead of their meeting with the champions at the Mestalla next weekend.
Valencia had won four consecutive games since an opening day draw at Sevilla to move top of the table before Barcelona’s 6-0 thrashing of Granada on Saturday.
However, the visitors were reliant on goalkeeper Diego Alves early on as the Brazilian produced two stunning saves to deny Carlos Vela and Imanol Agirretxe.
Yet, it was Valencia who went in front against the run of play with a fine team goal on 15 minutes as Paco Alcacer headed Rodrigo’s cross back into the heart of the area for Gil to volley home.
The home side weren’t discouraged, though, and their dominance was eventually rewarded with an equaliser nine minutes before half-time.
Inigo Martinez thought his header had crossed the line when Jose Gaya cleared from underneath his own crossbar, but the hosts weren’t to be denied seconds later as former Valencia playmaker Canales’s cross avoided everyone on its way into the far corner.
La Real continued to enjoy the majority of possession after half-time, but were thankful to goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai for keeping them level two minutes from time as he flew to his right to make a fine save from Nicolas Otamendi.
The home side still went close to winning the game twice in stoppage time as Shkodran Mustafi headed Canales’s goalbound effort over his own bar before Esteban Granero nodded the resultant corner inches wide.
Earlier, Deportivo la Coruna failed to move out of the relegation zone as they were beaten at home 1-0 by Almeria thanks to Edgar Mendez’s stoppage time strike.
However, Getafe did move out of the bottom three as they were also 1-0 victors over Malaga.