Evening all! Our final La Liga live commentary of the weekend comes from Valencia as the home side welcome Real Valladolid
to the Mestalla. A run of just one defeat from their last five matches has moved the home side into European contention, with just five points separating them from the top four with nine matches remaining.
Valladolid, however, have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league, but they are not in relegation trouble, comfortably sitting in 14th position in the table, nine points clear of the bottom three. They also boast recent success in this stadium having recorded a 2-1 win over Valencia in March 2009.
Valencia’s home form has been impressive this season, however, with nine wins from their 15 matches, losing just three times in the process. That said, Valladolid have been fairly impressive on their travels with four wins from their 14 matches, taking 15 points in the process. Another win this evening would hand them confidence as they target a top-half finish.
VALENCIA: Guaita; Mathieu, Rami, Pereira, Guardado; Costa, Feghouli, Parejo, Canales; Soldado, Jonas
VALLADOLID: Hernandez; Sereno, Rukavina, Valiente, Balenziaga; Rueda, Rubio, Oscar, Omar; Manucho, Larsson
So there we have it. Roberto Soldado
returns to the Valencia team this evening, while there are also starts for Jonas and Sergio Canales. Valladolid, meanwhile, pair Manucho and Larsson in attack, but there is no starting spot for Javi Guerra. Right, the away side get the action underway.
It must be said that the pitch is in wonderful condition at this stage of the season. Not a full house inside the stadium, but there is a strong atmosphere. Bright start from the home side as Jonas attempts to thread a low pass towards Soldado, but Sereno is out to clear, before Manucho goes close down the other end.
Just the one defeat in the last nine matches for Valencia, but they have drawn too many matches in recent weeks. Victory this evening would take Valencia above Malaga and Real Betis with eight matches remaining. However, it has been Valladolid that have made the brighter start as Omar tries his luck from distance, but it just moved wide of the post.
CHANCE! Fine opportunity for the home side as Canalas collects a pass from Jonas before driving into the box, but Sereno is across to quell the danger at the final moment. The Spaniard just took one touch too many in the box. Plenty of attacking intent in the opening six minutes, but still no goals at the Mestalla.
The frustration continues for Manucho as the former Manchester United striker is adjudged to have backed into Rami in the penalty area. The Valladolid forward is involved moments later as he collects possession down the left before firing a low cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Larsson, who had made a late run into the area.
Neither side has really taken control of the possession in the opening 10 minutes with both guilty of poor passing in the final third. Jonas is involved for the home side as he combines with Canales before trying his luck from distance, but it was always rising over the crossbar. Plenty of attacking intent in the early stages of this La Liga clash.
Slightly sloppy period of the match in the last few minutes with the referee called into action to deal with a number of late challenges. The atmosphere remains electric inside the stadium, but the football has not matched that standard thus far. It is the type of match where the first goal could be all-important.
Half-chance for the home side as Jonas collects possession outside the box before curling an effort towards the bottom corner, but Hernandez got down well to make the save. Omar Ramos attempts to start a counter attack, but Mathieu is quickly across to quell the danger.
Decent possession for the away side in the last couple of moments as Omar Ramos combines with Alvaro Rubio before finding Manucho in the box, but the striker can only turn wide from close range. Neither side has really taken control of the possession thus far, with each guilty of poor passing in the final third. Still no real chances with 16 minutes on the clock.
Jonas is again the link for Valencia as he combines with Canales before feeding a low pass towards Soldado, but the striker was just one yard too short. Manucho attacks a Sereno cross down the other end moments later, but he can only head wide of the target. Half-chances, but no more than that in the opening 18 minutes.
Another half-chance for the home side as Canales feeds a low cross into the box, but Soldado can only turn wide of the post when he perhaps should have done better. It is the away supporters that can be heard as we approach the midpoint of the first period, however, with their side more than in this match. A header comes from Jonas moments later, but he can only head over the crossbar.
CHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for the home side as Canales is played through by Jonas, the Spaniard takes one touch before attempting to chip over the onrushing goalkeeper, but Hernandez makes a fine save, before denying Jonas moments later.
The match has just started to open up in the last few moments with Valladolid forcing the issue with two corners in quick succession. However, the first is palmed over by Guaita before the Spaniard comes to claim the second. After a fairly tight opening, both teams are just starting to exert their influence in the final third.
Another opportunity for the home side as Parejo finds Soldado in the box, but the striker slips at the vital moment, allowing Sereno across to make the clearance. Valladolid break with pace and numbers moments later, but once more the final pass is just short of the required quality.
Another half-chance for Valencia as Soldado breaks free in the penalty area, but Rukavina is across to make a vital challenge. Guardado creates a chance for the home side moments later, but Soldado fires wide, before Larsson's effort is saved by Guaita down the other end.
Valencia remain in the ascendancy as they force the issue down each wing, but they have been unable to find that elusive pass in the final third. Their first corner of the match is fired into the box by Canales, but Manucho rises to head clear. The striker is powerful presence in both penalty areas.
Canales is next to try his luck as he thumps an effort from outside the box, but it moved well wide of the target. That has been the story of the first half thus far. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining in the opening period, with the two sides level at 0-0. We are in desperate need of a goal.
CHANCE! Good opportunity for Soldado once more as the striker meets a cross from Guardado, but he can only head wide of the post. He has certainly looked the most likely to open the scoring this evening. There is almost a pre-season atmosphere inside the stadium in the latter stages of this half.
Another long-range strike comes from Tino Costa, but it was always moving wide of the bottom corner. Just a reminder that three points for the home side would move them into fifth position this evening. However, they are not playing like a team that has something to play for. Really one-paced first period from both sides.
GOAL! Valencia 1-0 Real Valladolid (Balenziaga OG)
It's good work from Jonas as the Brazilian collects possession outside the box before firing a low cross towards Soldado, but once more Sereno is across to clear the danger. The resulting corner is taken by Tino Costa, but Balenziaga can only turn past his own goalkeeper.
It is harsh on Valladolid, but the match needed something just to open it up. Decent response from the away side as Omar strikes an effort from outside the box, but Guaita was always comfortable in claiming. Little over three minutes of the first period remaining.
Soldado goes in search of Valencia's second as he collects a pass from Costa before advancing into the box, but Rukavina clears at the final moment, before Jonas's effort is deflected wide for a corner. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute at the end of the half.
HALF-TIME: Valencia 1-0 Real Valladolid
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Valencia leading 1-0 courtesy of an own goal from Balenziaga in the latter stages of the half. In truth, it has not really been a classic with both teams struggling to create chances in the final third.
STATISTICS: The home side have shaded the possession with 55%, while they have had 10 attempts to Valladolid's four. The fact that the away side have failed to register a single attempt on target tells you everything that you need to know about their threat thus far.
BENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench in the shape of Nelson Valdez and Jonathan Viera, while Valladolid have the likes of Javi Guerra and Lluis Sastre in reserve. I suspect that we will see some changes in the early stages of the second half.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. As it stands, Valencia would move into fifth position in the table, while Valladolid would remain in 13th. No changes for either side at the interval, which is not too surprising at this stage of events. Right, the home side get the second period underway.
Good start to the second half from Valencia as Jonas combines with Canales before striking an effort on goal, but it was always moving wide of the bottom corner. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could decide the match. Should Valencia score another, then it is difficult to see Valladolid responding.
CHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for the away side as Omar settles in the box before thumping an effort towards the top corner, but somehow Guaita is across to make the save. That is just stunning from the home side's goalkeeper. As good as you will ever see.
Valladolid just need more from the likes of Larsson and Manucho in the second period as Valencia continue to enjoy more of the ball. Slightly sloppy start to the second period, with both sides lunging into a host of challenges in quick succession. Meanwhile, the Valencia fans are having a real party in the stadium.
A searching cross from Pereira threatens to cause problems for Hernandez, but the Valladolid goalkeeper is able to settle before claiming under pressure from Soldado. His long kick falls for Larsson down the other end, but the Swede just cannot find Manucho in the box. That has been the story of their performance thus far.
It's better from the away side as Rukavina advances forward from defence before floating a cross into the box, but once more Rami is on hand to clear the danger. The pressure continues as Alvaro and Oscar pass and probe outside the box, but the final pass towards Manucho finds the striker in an offside position.
PENALTY TO VALENCIA!
RED CARD! The away side are reduced to 10 men in the early stages of the second period as Sereno dives into a challenge with Soldado, bringing down the striker in the process. Soldado will take the penalty.
SAVE! Hernandez makes the save! Wonderful from the stopper as he drops to his left before pushing the penalty wide of the goal. Will Valencia be made to regret that miss?
Valencia are in total control of the possession with 30 minutes of football remaining, but you just get the feeling that they need to score that second goal in order to be sure of the points. That said, Valladolid do not look too dangerous in the final third at the moment as they continue to drop deeper and deeper.
Soldado is sniffing around the penalty area once more as he attempts to pick up the pieces from a save by Hernandez, but Rukavina is on hand to clear under pressure from Jonas. It is too long for the away side to resist the danger, Manucho tries his luck from distance, but Guaita backtracks before palming clear. Some effort from the striker.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes with Valencia comfortable in possession of the ball. However, at 1-0, there is always a chance that something will fall for Valladolid in the latter stages. They just have to keep believing. It is the away supporters that are making the noise with 65 minutes on the clock.
Slightly scrappy period of the match in the last couple of moments with the referee called into action to deal with a number of challenges, with Parejo the latest player to enter the book. The resulting free kick is fired into the box by Valiente, but Mathieu rises highest to clear for a corner.
As it stands, Valencia will move into fifth position in the table. They simply have to win these type of matches if they are to win the race against the likes of Real Sociedad and Real Betis. Valladolid are on a torrid run of form, but strong form in the early part of the season has left them clear of relegation harm.
It really is an untidy spell of the match with both teams guilty of poor passing in the final third. Valencia go in search of their second as Parejo whips a high cross into the box, but Soldado backs into the Valladolid goalkeeper, with the referee on hand to award a free kick. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining at the Mestalla.
GOAL! Valencia 1-1 Real Valladolid (Oscar)
What a wonderful equaliser from Valladolid. It's good work from Rukavina as the defender finds Oscar in the box, the attacker meets the low cross before whipping his effort into the top corner. That is how to finish from inside the box. Just wonderful.
Change for Valencia as Jonathan Viera enters the field in place of Canales. A half-chance arrives for the home side moments later as Jonas collects possession in the box, but he can only fire wide of the target. Valladolid also make a change as Larsson is replaced by Valdet Rama.
The changes continue as Ever Banega replaces Costa for the final 15 minutes of action. This would be a real missed chance for Valencia if they are unable to score another in the latter stages. You just get the feeling that there is going to be a late sting in the tail here.
It is all one-way traffic at the moment as the home side continue to throw high balls into the penalty area, but Hernandez is on hand to take the pressure off his back four. Mathieu tries his luck from distance moments later, but it was always rising over the crossbar. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining at the Mestalla.
You can just sense the frustration around the stadium at the moment as another attack breaks down in the final third. Valladolid are offering a threat of their own with Manucho making his presence known in attack, but the former Manchester United striker simply has no support.
It is the away supporters that are making their voices known as we approach the final stages of this match. Make no mistake about it, this would be a wonderful result if they can hang onto the point. But that is a big if as the home side continue to force the issue. Little over five minutes of action remaining.
The chance falls to Soldado once more as the Spaniard collects possession on the edge of the box before curling an effort towards the top corner, but it was always moving high and wide. Meanwhile, Valencia make their third and final change as Nelson Valdez, who has scored eight goals this season, replaces Feghouli.
Valencia are awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area as Valiente fells Viera. The resulting set piece is taken by Viera, but he can only thump his effort over the crossbar, much to the frustration of the home supporters. I suspect that they will not get a better chance in the remaining three minutes or so.
Another half-chance for the home side as Soldado attacks a Jonas cross, but Rukavina just beats the Spaniard to the ball. The ball is worked from left to right moments later before Jonas puts another cross into the box, but once more the danger is cleared. Meanwhile, Valladolid make another change as Guerra replaces Manucho.
Guardado has another half-chance as he pounces on a loose ball outside the box, but he fires high and wide of the crossbar. I think that has landed somewhere in the Valencia town centre. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of stoppage time and we are indeed into the second of those.
GOAL! Valencia 2-1 Real Valladolid (Jonas)
WOW! Valencia have their winner in the final minute as Jonas thumps a header into the back of the net following a wonderful cross from Pereira. What a big goal that is in the context of their season.
FULL-TIME: Valencia 2-1 Real Valladolid
So there we have it. An incredible conclusion to the match as Jonas scores in the final moment to hand Valencia all three points. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. Good evening!