MADRID (AFP) – Valencia leapfrogged Sevilla into fourth in La Liga with a 3-1 win over the Andalusians in a match filled with controversy and three penalties on Sunday.
The hosts sped into a 2-0 lead as Dani Parejo opened the scoring from the penalty spot before adding the finishing touch to a fine counter-attack. However, Parejo was then lucky to escape a second yellow card when he upended Diogo Figueras inside the area and Carlos Bacca halved Sevilla’s deficit from the spot.
The Colombian couldn’t repeat the trick moments later against penalty specialist Diego Alves, though, as the Brazilian keeper dived to his left to stop the third penalty of the night and Javi Fuego compounded his error with Valencia’s third after the break. Victory moves Valencia two points clear of Sevilla in fourth, although the Europa League holders have a game in hand.
Valencia have made a habit of fast starts under Nuno Espirito Santo this season and should have been in front just four minutes in when Rodrigo somehow failed to turn Alvaro Negredo’s cross into an unguarded net.
Negredo was involved once more when the hosts opened the scoring on 18 minutes as he looked to have fouled Figueras before being brought down by the defender, but Parejo didn’t pardon the visitors as he gave Beto no chance from the spot. Sevilla could have no complaints about Sevilla’s second as they were cut open by Enzo Perez’s ball over the top and Parejo composed himself before slotting into the far corner.
Unai Emery’s men were given a lifeline when Parejo tripped Figueras as he careered into the area and Bacca sent Alves the wrong way with his first penalty.
Yet, the roles were reversed after Joao Cancelo wiped out Vitolo moments later as Alves made his 18th penalty save in Spanish football.
Valencia then got the breathing space they craved 11 minutes after the break when superb play by Rodrigo down the left teed up Fuego to curl home his first goal of the campaign.