Valencia battle past Deportivo

Dani Parejo opened the scoring from the penalty spot just after the hour mark and then Paco Alcacer scored within a minute after coming on as a substitute to finish off the Galicians.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side temporarily move above Atletico Madrid and up to third place in the Primera Division and eight points above Sevilla, with both sides in action later this weekend. Deportivo meanwhile stay three points above the relegation zone, but all their direct rivals have a game in hand.

Valencia have made a habit of killing off opponents early in games at Mestalla this season but, like a fortnight ago against Real Sociedad, they had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock.

The opening 45 minutes did not bear witness to many exciting moments, with Deportivo sitting back and Valencia struggling to exert any control on the game due to their imprecise passing. The hosts were still the better side, however, and created the better chances, the clearest of which fell to Alvaro Negredo, but the striker’s free header bounced off a Deportivo defender, taking the sting out of the shot and making it easier for Fabricio to stop.

The on-loan Manchester City striker had two other headed opportunities early in the second half but they came to nothing, and the only way through for Valencia proved to be from the penalty spot.

Juanfran dived in to try and rob the ball from Pablo Piatti in the box but sent the Argentine winger flying and Parejo sent Fabricio the wrong way to open the scoring, netting his ninth goal of the season.

Shortly afterwards Negredo finally found the net, but his header was ruled offside.

Although now behind and with nothing to lose, Deportivo still struggled to get forward, and their best chance of the second half came when Ivan Cavaleiro narrowly failed to connect with Lucas Perez’s square ball.

Alcacer then replaced Negredo to make his first appearance in a month following a knee injury, and within a minute the Spain international killed off the match.

Piatti spun past two defenders and laid the ball off to Sofiane Feghouli on the byline and the substitute pulled it back for Alcacer to pass into the net with ease, scoring for the first time since 20 December.

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