Valencia closer to CL berth with win over Sevilla

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Seville (Spain), March 11 (IANS) Valencia showcased solid defence, goalkeeping and an opportunistic attack in a huge 2-0 away victory here over Sevilla, taking a big step toward finishing in the top four of La Liga and earning a berth in next season’s Champions League.

With its first win at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since 2004 on Saturday, fourth-placed Valencia pulled 11 points ahead of fifth-placed Sevilla, whose hopes of qualifying for Europe’s premier club football tournament are fading with just 10 games remaining in the season, reports Efe news.

Sevilla could have cut the margin between the two teams to just five points with a victory.

The hosts came out with intensity and controlled the action in the early going, but Valencia calmly weathered the storm and snuffed out its rival’s offensive forays.

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Brazilian-born striker Rodrigo Moreno then took advantage of Sergio Escudero’s failure to deflect away a long pass and slotted the ball home past Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico in the 24th minute.

Sevilla sought to draw level before the intermission, with Franco Vazquez, Pablo Sarabia and Luis Muriel all threatening to score but lacking sufficient precision.

The hosts then continued to take the initiative after the break and had three clear chances to score, but Valencia net minder Neto made a pair of outstanding saves to preserve his team’s lead.

Valencia, meanwhile, looked for chances on the counterattack and the strategy paid off in the 68th minute when Rodrigo converted a one-on-one opportunity against Rico after receiving a pass from former Sevilla player Geoffrey Kondogbia.

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–IANS

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