|24||Doménech (GK)||1||Sels (GK)|
|18||Javi Fuego||23||L. Nielsen|
|13||Yoel (GK)||25||Vandenbussche (GK)|
|Nuno Espírito Santo (POR) ||Hein Vanhaezebrouck (BEL) |
|Felix Zwayer (GER)|
Valencia strengthened their grip on second place in UEFA Champions League Group H as an own goal at Mestalla undermined the challenge of Gent.
Nuno Espírito Santo had insisted there was no danger of his Valencia side underestimating the visitors and his players were as good as his word, tearing forward from the outset. Gent goalkeeper Matz Sels saved at the feet of Santi Mina after Sofiane Feghouli's pass had split the defence, before Shkodran Mustafi put a free header over from a corner.
The breakthrough was not long delayed, however. Paco Alcácer was unable to supply the decisive touch to a teasing low cross from right-back João Cancelo; from close range, a combination of Feghouli and Lasse Nielsen forced the ball over the line.
Gent were rocking and it took a double save from their goalkeeper to prevent Valencia doubling their advantage. Sels dived to his left to keep out Santi Mina's 20-metre drive and was up quickly to block Daniel Parejo's follow-up effort.
The visitors, however, came into the match more as half-time approached – and five minutes before the break, they were level. Renato Neto's pass over the top found Thomas Foket on the right and the midfielder lashed a left-foot shot high past Jaume Doménech from the angle.
Parejo nearly restored the Valencia lead early in the second period, prodding over from close range, and substitute Pablo Piatti then fired too high after an incisive move down the right.
Valencia's pressure continued to build slowly, and the initiative was regained with 18 minutes left. Cancelo's cross came back off the bar and was met by José Gayà, who unleashed a cross-shot that was heading across goal, until Stefan Mitrović diverted it into his own net to give the home team the points.
Nuno Espírito Santo, Valencia coach
It's a good result for us but it is not decisive in the group. There are still three games and the next match is very important. The first half was very good with a lot of chances to score, which we didn't turn into goals. In the second half we controlled the game. The result we wanted was a win, we have to improve some things but we are happy.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck, Gent coach
Our experience was a positive one despite the loss. We could have scored more and perhaps deserved a point. We are going to fight until the last match and we will try to get third position. It will be difficult but we are going to fight for it.
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