La Liga - Sevilla seal fine away win at Mestalla

Sun, 20 Mar 22:30:00 2011

Ivan Rakitic smashed the only goal of an entertaining Liga game as Sevilla beat Valencia 1-0 at the Mestalla.

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Keeper Javi Varas was in inspired form for the visitors who move up to seventh.

Roberto Soldado sent a free header wide early on but the opening exchanges were pretty scrappy until Jesus Navas burst into life. The Spain international latched onto a fine pass by Alvaro Negredo and blasted in a shot from a tight angle that was pushed away one-handed for a corner, via the bar, by Vicente Guaita.

Joaquin was convinced he deserved a penalty at the other end after Mouhamadou Dabo grabbed him inside the area but the referee felt the former Real Betis man went down too easily. Seconds earlier, Dabo had wrestled Soldado inside the box and also escaped punishment on that occasion.

Brazilian import Jonas had a frustrating evening as he slipped over when Federico Fazio misjudged a cross and wastefully lobbed wide when clean through seconds after Sevilla hit the woodwork. Rakitic won the ball off Joaquin and played in Negredo who beat Guaita but smacked the keeper's right-hand post with a low finish.

Guaita saved from Diego Perotti and Negredo headed wide after lovely play down the right involving Navas and overlapping full-back Alexis as Sevilla continued to hold their own.

Navas worked Guaita again with a rasping drive that was beaten away by the keeper as Valencia were certainly being kept on their toes as the half drew to a close.

Sevilla started the second half in determined fashion with Perotti's run crudely halted on the edge of the box by Bruno, who picked up a deserved yellow card, and Rakitic flashing a textbook volley just wide.

At the other end, Jonas was played through by Soldado's neat pass but could only shoot against the outside of a post and the chances came thick and fast with Fredi Kanoute heading onto the top of the net from a Rakitic corner.

In the 58th minute, there was great action as Varas was out of his goal after making a block but leapt to touch a clever long-range attempt by Juan Mata onto the bar to frustrate Los Che. The keeper was kept busy during a furious spell of pressure as he denied Soldado in a one-on-one and then kept out Jonas' header from close range after the ball was hooked back into the danger zone by Joaquin.

After being palmed off by Dabo, Joaquin was again convinced he deserved a penalty and the former Spain international soon put Soldado through again, only for Varas to make another vital stop.

With 20 minutes to go, the winner arrived as a right-wing cross by Alexis was misjudged by Mehmet Topal, who was playing in an unfamiliar centre-half role, and Negredo pounced - only for Bruno to block. The ball rebounded out to Rakitic who lashed a left-footed drive past Guaita to break the deadlock.

Joaquin quickly tested Varas again with a volley from a tight angle but Sevilla remained a threat on the break with Topal making a risky challenge to deny Negredo inside the box after a bustling run by the hard-working striker.

Substitute Ever Banega had two late efforts, one of them superbly saved again by Varas, but Guaita also had to make a vital stop to prevent Negredo from extending his side's lead.

Joaquin was guilty of a shameful dive in injury time in a bid to win a penalty as Valencia slipped to only their third home league defeat of the season.


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