Jeremy Mathieu’s strike in first-half stoppage time helped strengthen Valencia’s push for Champions League qualification in a 1-0 win at Getafe.
The 29-year-old’s goal was enough for Los Che to make it three wins on the spin in the Spanish Primera Division.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have swapped positions with Real Socieded in the battle for the fourth Champions League positions. That is at least until midnight, of course, with the Basque side in action at Sevilla.
Their opponents Getafe could have increased hopes of a Europa League position and end a difficult spell of form with one win in seven games.
But the hosts never managed to assert enough dominance over a compact, well-organised Valencia midfield, including Ever Banega, David Albelda and Dani Parejo.
The left-sided partnership of Andres Guardado and Aly Cissokho created a few half-chances for Valverde’s side with Robert Soldado missing the target. Soldado has scored 21 goals in 30 league games this term and came inches away from beating Moya from yards out.
Getafe’s lack of a goalscoring edge in recent months was evident with just two notable opportunities in the game. The first came inside four minutes with Pedro Leon blazing the ball over the crossbar from 20 yards out when he should have done better.
And Leon was involved again in the second, with Castro on the break, but the former’s cross sailed over the head of early substitute Lafita.
But, well into the additional minute of first-half time, former Toulouse defender Mathieu bent home a wonderful left-foot effort after being laid-off by Ever Banega. It was the French defender’s first goal of the season.
Still dominating the game, Valencia nonetheless struggled to convert that into more goals.
Soldado was a lively threat into the second-half and on 47 mintues, Moya denied him from close range after a cushioned first-touch to Banega’s pass which was missing the finish.
It was the Valencia top-scorer against Moya for a second time on 73 minutes but the Getafe number one’s strong right-hand prevented a goal.
The game fizzled out in favour of Los Che, with the likes of Parejo and Banega showing their efficient possession football to nullify Getafe’s threats.
And Luis Garcia’s side remain in eighth position in La Liga, level on points with Sevilla and five behind Real Betis.
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- Ever Banega