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Valencia 2 Gent 1: Mitrovic own goal spares hosts´ blushes

A Stefan Mitrovic own goal denied Gent what would have been a hard-fought point as they suffered a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Valencia on Tuesday.

Sofiane Feghouli put the home side in front after 15 minutes, before Matz Sels produced a string of excellent saves to keep his side in contention.

Thomas Foket then pulled the Belgians level by rifling a shot high into the Valencia net five minutes from the interval.

That equaliser revitalised the visitors and Valencia were second best for much of the second period.

However, a Jose Gaya drive from the left struck Mitrovic in the six-yard box and bounced over the line to spare the hosts’ blushes in the 72nd minute.

The result sees Valencia remain three points adrift of Group H leaders Zenit – who beat Lyon 3-1 – while Gent are still without a win in this year’s competition.

Valencia dominated the early stages, but wild efforts from Andre Gomes and Santi Mina saw their initial pressure go unrewarded.

Sels arrived at the feet of Mina to deny the hosts a simpler shot at goal from close range after nine minutes, before Shkodran Mustafi – almost completely unmarked in the box – headed narrowly over from a corner.

Valencia eventually made the breakthrough when Feghouli bundled the ball over the line after Paco Alcacer had got a touch to Joao Cancelo’s cross from the right.

And the Spanish side would have been further in front had Sels not produced a superb double save – diving to his left to keep out a Gomes strike before recovering  to turn Dani Parejo’s follow-up behind.

The resulting corner led to a chance for Aderlan Santos in the centre of the box, but Sels was again on hand to make the save from the defender’s low drive.

Although Gent did make the occasional foray into the opposition half, their threat was limited.

That was until Foket got on the end of a delightful Renato Neto ball over the top and powered a left-footed effort high beyond home goalkeeper Jaume Domenech.

Alcacer lifted the ball over Sels and the crossbar early in the second period, but Valencia’s first-half dominance seemed to have deserted them.

Indeed, Gent had Valencia rattled and looked capable of pulling off an upset against their more fancied La Liga opponents.

But Valencia got lucky. Cancelo’s cross from the right bounced off the top of the crossbar and fell to Gaya, whose effort went in off the unfortunate Mitrovic.

Domenech made a strong diving save to deny Thomas Matton as Gent attempted to restore parity and, though they continued to press, Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men were left to reflect on a missed opportunity to claim a memorable point – a dismissed stoppage-time penalty shout for a Danilo challenge on Kenny Saief rubbing salt in the wound.

Tue 20 Oct, 2015
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