Valencia, Levante move into Europa League spots

MADRID — Valencia and Levante won in dramatic fashion from late goals in the Spanish league on Saturday, lifting the pair of crosstown rivals into Europa League positions.

Report by Reuters

MADRID — Valencia and Levante won in dramatic fashion from late goals in the Spanish league on Saturday, lifting the pair of crosstown rivals into Europa League positions.

Defender Ricardo Costa headed in Valencia’s injury-time winner to cap its 3-2 fightback victory at nine-man Deportivo La Coruna, while Levante edged out Valladolid 2-1 thanks to Antonio Rukavina’s own goal in the 90th minute.

Valencia rebounded from its 5-0 thrashing in the league and its subsequent elimination from the Copa del Rey last week by Real Madrid to move into fifth place. Levante is level on points with Valencia in sixth
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Elsewhere, Real Sociedad was held to 1-1 at 10-man Celta Vigo, while Espanyol drew 0-0 at Real Zaragoza in a rough-and-tumble contest that both teams ended with 10 men.

Valencia forward Jonas stunned the crowd at Riazor Stadium with a headed goal just 30 seconds into the game.

Valencia proceeded to squander various looks on goal before Ivan “Riki” Sanchez made it 1-1 with a header in the 32nd against the flow of play. The striker then grabbed his brace with a strike from the edge of the box in first-half stoppage time.

Deportivo’s Silvio Azevedo was dismissed for a second bad tackle in the 52nd, and Valencia forward Nelson Valdez evened the score by stabbing in substitute Juan Bernat’s cross in the 63rd.

Deportivo’s Daniel Aranzubia kept his team alive until Andres Guardado picked out Costa at the far post to beat the keeper for a third and decisive time, keeping Deportivo in last place.

Deportivo’s Assuncao saw a direct red card for elbowing Valdez before the final whistle.

Earlier, Levante forward Jose Barkero curled a free kick over the barrier and just inside the post a minute before halftime to level for the hosts after Javier Baraja struck first for Valladolid in the eighth with a long-range volley.
Levante carried the initiative the rest of the way, and its effort paid off when Rukavina inadvertently sent the ball into his own net while trying to stop the progress of Obafemi Martins into the area.
Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said he was most pleased with his team’s capacity to come from behind to get the win.

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