VALENCIA 0 - SPORTING 1
Gijón beat Valencia as Neville remains winless in La Liga
The visitors benefited from a profligate Negredo display as Sanabria’s spot-kick won it for Aberlardo’s men to lift them out of the drop zone.
It just goes from bad to worse for Valencia in La Liga. They can no longer even point to their unbeaten home run in the top flight, one that had stretched back to November 2014, as Sunday's clash with Sporting Gijón saw Abelardo Fernández's side come away from Mestalla with a priceless win. The Asturians did so courtesy of Antonio Sanabria’s spot-kick, a bit of defensive solidity and, above all, a striker in Álvaro Negredo driven to distraction by his wastefulness in front of goal.
Valencia boss Gary Neville is still to taste victory in La Liga, while in total Los Che are on a sequence of 11 league games without a win. And this weekend, Sporting moved to within four points of their hosts. It’s now apparent why the English coach only kept back Dani Parejo from his likely starting eleven to face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
What's more, if Sofiane Feghouli’s attempts to score from a drop-ball in added time are anything to go by, Valencia are at the point where they’re willing to resort to increasingly desperate measures to get out of this rut in La Liga.
Right from the off, Sporting coach Aberlardo sought to avoid the mistakes made by his side at the Santiago Bernabéu two weeks ago, and make the most of the winning momentum set in motion by their triumph over Real Sociedad last time out. He made just the one change to his line-up, a move forced upon him by injury to Alberto Lora, the right-back replaced by the Bosnian Ognjen Vranjes, who on his debut in Spanish football let nobody down.
If the truth be told, Sporting only did enough to earn a point but ended up coming away with all three. Why? The answer is simple: because of Los Blanquinegros’ profligacy, and in particular that of Negredo who, by the time he had missed his third clear opportunity, had to be consoled by his team-mates.
The match was settled by a stonewall penalty awarded for a foul by Danilo on Jony. Sanabria made no mistake, and is now on ten goals in La Liga this term. For a 19-year-old, that’s not bad at all. From then on until the final whistle, Valencia huffed and puffed but were powerless to prevent the defeat, and find themselves on a dangerous run of form. Very dangerous indeed.