Gary Neville is still searching for his first La Liga win as Valencia boss after Los Che twice fought back from a goal down to draw 2-2 at home to Getafe.
All four goals arrived in a 25 minute period in the first-half as Paco Alcacer cancelled out Pablo Sarabia’s opener. Angel Lafita then put Getafe back in front only for substitute Santi Mina to level once more. A draw leaves Valencia still six points off the top four, but does at least preserve their unbeaten home record in the league stretching back to November last year.
“We made things too complicated,” said Neville. “In the first-half of the game we made some mistakes. It is a pity, because the effort from the players was enormous. We have to repeat performances like these in every game. When you give everything in a match you want to achieve the best result and today we wanted to win. We are working hard and I know that the results will follow.”
Neville had managed to get his first win in three attempts against third-tier Barakaldo in the Copa del Rey in midweek. But, just as against Eibar in his first taste of La Liga action last weekend, Valencia made a poor start and were behind after just ten minutes. Goalkeeper Jaume Domenech has been his side’s player of the year so far this season, but he was powerless to prevent Sarabia’s free-kick finding the top corner despite getting a hand to it.
However, the hosts reacted quickly to going behind as Alcacer caught Joao Cancelo’s cross from the right sweetly to register his seventh goal of the season. Yet, Valencia were still incredibly open at the back and were behind again midway through the half when Aymen Abdennour needlessly gave the ball away and Lafita smashed home a loose ball from just outside the box.
Getafe centre-back Cala had another goal marginally ruled out for offside moments later as the home fans began to turn on their side. And it seemed Neville had suffered another setback when Jose Luis Gaya had to be replaced through injury. Yet, that proved to be a blessing in disguise as Mina replaced the full-back and equalised with his first touch as he swept home Alcacer’s cross at the back post.
The hosts then looked the more threatening side for large spells, but were denied by former Valencia ‘keeper Vicente Guaita as he produced great saves to deny Danilo and Dani Parejo either side of the break. Neville introduced former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo in the search for a winner and he had a golden chance when he headed straight at Guaita three minutes from time. Yet, in the end, Valencia were lucky to even get a point as Getafe passed up a series of chances on the break in the final few minutes with Lafita hitting the bar two minutes into stoppage time.
Elsewhere, Betis and Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw in a bad-tempered first Seville derby for 20 months which saw 12 bookings and few clear-cut chances.
Lucas Perez scored for the seventh consecutive league game as Deportivo la Coruna maintained their push for European football with a comfortable 2-0 over Eibar to move to within two points of the top four.
And Constantin Galca made it two wins from two games since taking charge of Espanyol on Monday as Felipe Caicedo scored the only goal against relegation threatened Las Palmas.