|Real Valladolid (1)||Valencia (1)|
|Sergio Guardiola 83′||Manu Vallejo 90+4′|
After conceding last minute goals several times throughout the season, it was Valencia’s turn to sucker punch their opponents Real Valladolid, grabbing a point in a scrappy affair.
With virtually the last kick of the game, Manu Vallejo scored his first LaLiga goal to pick up a point for his team.
To be certain, the football was poor with players buffeted by the torrential rain and wind. Every pass seemed to fall short; every cross shifted inches away from their target.
To make things worse, the gales blew trash onto the field from the opening minute, a sign that play was going to be rubbish. And it was for the most part. With no shots on target for either side for the entire first half, the half-time whistle was scant relief from the turgid game – it was an uninspiring 45 minutes and there were another 45 to go.
Valencia had their first real sight of goal only in the 68th-minute from Denis Cheryshev, who came on earlier for the ineffective Rubén Sobrino to mark his return from a pelvic injury that had sidelined him since early November.
The Russian hit a low shot outside the box, which Jordi Masip covered well. It was all Valladolid from then on, with Jaume Doménech making crucial saves against dangermen Sergi Guardiola and Óscar Plano.
Against a side that had not scored for the past five games, all of which were losses, Valencia conceded. To be fair, Guardiola’s 82nd-minute free kick just outside the box was impeccably placed at the near post. Doménech stretched to make a save but a VAR check showed that it had crossed the line.
The Bats had been infuriated over the free kick, which was given after Francis Coquelin was penalised for his 50-50 challenge with Joaquín. Cue the pandemonium.
Valencia pushed everyone forward, determined to avoid a loss against a side they had not suffered defeat against since 2009. And in the final moments, Dani Parejo’s threaded pass between the lines found Ferran Torres, who continued his fine form by driving a low cross in front of goal for Vallejo to tap in.
A relieved Albert Celades said: “This team has overcome a difficult moment once again. When faced with adverse moments during the game, they didn’t give up, and that was key to the equaliser.”
Gritty or gleeful, one thing is clear: with weather like this, and a long injury list to boot, Los Che will be happy to take a much-needed rest before 2020 comes rolling in.