Monday, October 23, 2017

Ten-man Valencia slay Hercules to go top

SoccerNews in La Liga 19 Sep 2010

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Valencia replaced Real Madrid at the top of La Liga winning 2-1 at promoted Hercules on Sunday to make it a perfect nine-point start to the season.

Valencia, league champions in 2002 and 2004, were wary of the threat posed by Hercules after they beat Barcelona 2-0 at Camp Nou last time out.

However Unai Emery’s side brought the newcomers off cloud nine despite playing most of the second half with ten men.

Valencia had defender David Navarro sent off on 49 minutes for a second yellow card but the visitors survived their numerical disadvantage with goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez keeping Hercules at bay.

Hercules were applauded as heroes on the back of their stunning Camp Nou win but were brought back down to earth when Spanish international Juan Mata put Valencia ahead after two minutes.

Pablo Hernandez then made it 2-0 on 23 minutes, however Hercules got back in the game with a penalty late in the first half after Navarro handled the ball.

Veteran French striker David Trezeguet, 32, converted the 43rd minute spot-kick for his first Hercules goal following his surprise move from Juventus.

Valencia, 4-0 winners over Bursaspor in the Champions League, held on for their third league win to go top moving two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Elsewhere Villarreal climbed up to fourth with a 2-1 win at promoted Levante on Sunday.

Brazilian international striker Nilmar scored a first half brace for Villarreal who sit a point behind second-placed Real.

Levante are the only side yet to register points after losing their first three games, conceding 10 goals in the process.

Racing Santander posted their first win of the season with a 2-0 home victory over Real Zaragoza on Sunday.

Late goals from Argentine striker Ariel and Brazilian defender Henrique, on loan from Barcelona, clinched the points for Racing while winless Zaragoza languish third from bottom.

Later Sunday champions Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid at the Vincente Calderon in the first big duel of the new season.

Barcelona are four points behind Real, who won 2-1 at Real Sociedad on Saturday, and can’t afford another slip-up after the shock Hercules loss.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has lost both league matches at Atletico in his two years at the helm and last season’s 2-1 reverse at the Calderon was Barca’s only league defeat.

Unbeaten Sevilla travel to Malaga in Sunday’s late match looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to French side Paris Saint Germain in the Europa League.

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