Valencia’s hopes of returning to the UEDA Champions League next season suffered a blow on Sunday, as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at local rivals Levante UD.
Victor Casadesus put the hosts on the road to victory with a bullet header from Andres Ivanschitz’s corner just before the hour mark.
Valencia captain Dani Parejo seemed to have gotten his side back in the game after his lovely one-two with Alvaro Negredo saw him slot home 17 minutes from time.
However, within 60 seconds, Levante were back in front as substitute Jose Luis Morales curled the ball into the top corner.
Defeat leaves los Che in fourth place, a point ahead of Sevilla, and six adrift of leaders Real Madrid.
Star signing Negredo was finally fit enough to make his full debut for Valencia in the absence of the injured Paco Alcacer, but the former Manchester City striker endured a frustrating afternoon in front of goal and with some of referee Inaki Vicandi Garrido’s decisions.
The teams went in at halftime locked at 0-0 and Levante were far more positive early in the second and got their reward on 57 minutes.
Casadesus showed great strength to hold off Germany international Shkodran Mustafi and left Alves with no chance as he got his head to Ivanschitz’s cross.
A lovely interchange between Negredo and Parejo brought Valencia level 14 minutes later, but any hopes that Nuno Espirito Santo’s men would go on to win the game were shattered seconds later when Morales drove forward before cutting inside and unleashing a brilliant effort into the top corner.
Earlier on Sunday, RC Celta de Vigo missed the chance to move level with Sevilla in fifth after their first away defeat of the season at Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.
Celta’s defeat let Villarreal gain ground as they moved to within two points of the Galician club with a hardfought 2-1 win over Getafe thanks to first-half goals from Mario Gaspar and Gerard Moreno, while Elche drew 2-2 with Cordoba.
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