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  Spanish league: Valencia deny Real Madrid

Spanish league: Valencia deny Real Madrid

AFP
Published : Jan 5, 2016, 5:40 am IST
Updated : Jan 5, 2016, 5:40 am IST

Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic (right) vies for the ball with Valencia’s Aderlan Santos in their La Liga match at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia on Sunday. The match ended 2-2. — AP

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Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic (right) vies for the ball with Valencia’s Aderlan Santos in their La Liga match at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia on Sunday. The match ended 2-2. — AP

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez endured an unhappy return to Mestalla as Gary Neville’s Valencia twice came from behind to salvage a point in a pulsating 2-2 draw on Sunday.

 

Benitez needed a win amid doubts about his future at the club and Madrid had got off to a flying start thanks to a brilliant team goal finished off by Karim Benzema.

However, Valencia levelled through Dani Parejo’s penalty just before half-time and the visitors were left to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men as Mateo Kovacic was shown a straight red card.

Gareth Bale’s brilliant header restored Madrid’s lead for barely a minute before Paco Alcacer rescued a point for Valencia eight minutes from time.

A draw leaves Neville still looking for his first La Liga win in four games since taking charge of Valencia last month.

Madrid, meanwhile, are now four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid and two behind Barcelona having also played a game more than the European champions.

 

Benitez has been publicly backed by Madrid president Florentino Perez, but media reports in recent weeks have suggested French legend and the club’s reserve team coach Zinedine Zidane could be promoted to the top job at the Bernabeu if results don’t improve.

“I can’t avoid other people speculating. All I can do is ensure the team works like it did today,” said Benitez.

“The players put in a huge effort and unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the three points,” he added.

Neville, meanwhile, recognised his side need to start winning soon to have any chance of making the Champions League next season.

Location: Spain, Valencia