Valencia beat Albacete with last gasp goal

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

A late winner from substitute Xisco gave Valencia a 1-0 win at Albacete in the Spanish Primera Liga on Saturday.

Valencia beat Albacete with last gasp goal

Albacete:

A late winner from substitute Xisco gave Valencia a 1-0 win at Albacete in the Spanish Primera Liga on Saturday. The reigning league champions put their recent slump behind them with a third straight victory, but they are still ten points behind leaders Barcelona. Unlucky Albacete drop further towards the relegation zone at the other end. A damp night in Albacete greeted Spanish champions Valencia as they continued their struggle to put their season back on track. Claudio Ranieri's side have recovered from a recent slump to win their last two matches but faced an Albacete outfit lifted by their third win of the season last week, 2-0 away in Malaga. However, little real action was created in a dull first half and it was not until the second period that the match came to life - the home side's Belgian goalkeeper Ronald Gaspercic turned away a 53rd minute shot from Valencia's Argentine international Pablo Aimar. Five minutes later, it was Gaspercic's opposite number Santiago Canizares who was in the thick of it as Albacete surged forward. Pacheco's header from Redondo's cross fell to Mark Gonzalez, and Canizares recovered from an initial error to gather the ball as Albacete substitute Mikel dived in. Both sides then became entangled in a bout of pushing and shoving, but it came to nothing and the referee kept his cards in his pocket. Then, with 69 minutes on the clock, Pacheco curled in a corner that flew past everyone except Mikel and Redondo at the far post, but the ball rebounded to safety. At first it seemed that the pair had contrived to hit the woodwork, but the ball bounced off Valencia striker Fiore who bravely stood his ground. Luck was certainly not going the way of the home side, but with five minutes to go it looked like they would at least earn a point. But Pacheto failed to deal with a high ball on the edge of his own area, Valencia centre back Carlos Marchena hooked it back across goal and substitute Xisco stabbed home through a crowd of players and via a number of deflections. The goal proved decisive and now, with three successive victories, the Valencia fans can say with some certainty that the crisis is over, but they are still ten points behind leaders Barcelona. For Albacete, however, it was their sixth defeat of the season and they slip closer to the relegation zone. (AP)

Topics : Football
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