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Valencia come from behind to beat Espanyol at Mestalla

Los Che ended a run of 12 La Liga games without a win as goals by Álvaro Negredo and Denis Cheryshev saw Gary Neville register his first league victory with the club.

Valencia come from behind to beat Espanyol at Mestalla
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso Getty Images

Gary Neville recorded his maiden La Liga win as Valencia head coach on Saturday night as goals from Álvaro Negredo and Denis Cheryshev saw Los Che beat fellow strugglers Espanyol 2-1 at home.

"I'm happy with it, but it's just one small step forward. There is a big job still to do," said Neville after the match. "Relief is probably a good word."

Under-pressure Neville had failed to register all three points in any of his first nine league games following his appointment at Mestalla in December.

The victory is Valencia's first in the Spanish top flight since they defeated Celta Vigo 5-1 in November under previous boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

After a goalless first period, Espanyol took the lead a little over five minutes into the second half when recent signing Óscar Duarte headed in a corner for his first goal for Los Pericos.

But striker Negredo equalised for Valencia with just under 20 minutes remaining, finishing from close range with a deflected effort that beat goalkeeper Pau López and found the corner.

Just five minutes later, on-loan Real Madrid man Cheryshev - also opening his account for his new side - headed in Sofiane Feghouli's cross to complete a quickfire turnaround.

Espanyol had chances to level, particularly through shots from Álvaro González and Gerardo Moreno, but the hosts held on for victory.

The win sees Neville's men move up to 11th in La Liga, ahead of the outcomes of Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Getafe's league fixtures this weekend.